Were Early Medieval Lists Bureaucratic?
The Whitby "Abbot’s Book", Folios 1r–4v
Schlagworte:medieval, lists, monastery, bureaucracy, memory
Since the Enlightenment, early medieval lists have been removed from their original manuscript contexts and sometimes interpreted as artefacts of royal and ecclesiastical bureaucracy. Despite critical engagement with the idea of early medieval bureaucracy and recent emphasis on the material and literary characteristics of lists, the idea of bureaucratic origins remains. This paper focuses on the Whitby Abbot’s Book, folios 1r–4v, a perhaps incomplete quire written after 1176, comprising a book list, a story of refoundation with accompanying property lists, an abbatial oath, and a story of abbatial elections including a list of monks. It uses approaches to bureaucracy, administrative history, and memory to reflect on this case study and on cultures of listing.
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