The Review of English Studies has introduced ‘editor’s choice’ articles, intended (according to RES) both to promote RES and provide readers without a university subscription with free access to some of the best (!) essays published in the latest issues of the journal.
My recent piece on the Taunton fragment is currently one of the freely available choice articles and will be downloadable without subscription for the next six months or so.
The Taunton fragment was discovered in 2002 and contains a bilingual (Latin and Old English) version of biblical expositions known as the Homiliary of Angers. When the text was edited for Anglo-Saxon England in 2004/05, the editor suggested that the strange Old English of the fragment represented the language of the author/translator.
Based on a comparison with other Latin manuscripts of the Homiliary of Angers, I argue that the Old English translation had access to a more complete version of the Latin than can be found in the Taunton fragment. In other words, there are mistakes in the Latin that are not repeated in the English translation. Consequently, the Taunton fragment is likely a copy, and the Old English in the text represents a mix of the original translator’s language, the copyist’s language and copying errors that occur during the course of textual transmission (that is the repeated process of copying/re-inscription in an entirely handwritten documentary culture).
In the next year or so, some other work by other people will be coming out related to the homiliary, new manuscript discoveries and vernacular analogues, so in so far as these types of arcane and obscure things go…it promises to be exciting. =)