Learning to Talk: Colloquies and the Formation of Childhood Monastic Identity in Late Anglo-Saxon England

  • Rebecca King Cerling
Part of the Literary Cultures and Childhoods book series (LICUCH)


Children donated to monasteries by their parents in tenth- and eleventh-century England required not just education, but socialization from boyhood into their monastic identities. Colloquies, or conversational dialogues, taught the boys Latin, but also helped them to understand how to speak and act like monks. In order to illuminate a young child’s transition from home to monastery, Rebecca King Cerling examines two colloquies used in Benedictine monasteries to teach young oblates who they were as monks. The chapter follows the structure of the colloquies, which opened with quotidian concerns and then moved the students toward the practice of monastic patterns of speech including restraint and blessing.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca King Cerling
    • 1
  1. 1.Fuller Theological SeminaryPasadenaUSA

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