Christ’s Lips Move

  • Mary Hayes
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the Old English life of Saint Andrew, a late tenth-century Vercelli Book text known as Andreas, the ability to recognize the divine voice is a criterion by which believers are distinguished from non-believers. These two discursive communities are embodied in Andrew himself, who preaches Christian doctrine yet initially balks at a request made by Christ himself to go rescue his fellow apostle Matthew from the Mermedonians, cannibalistic heathens who live in Ethiopia. Andrew assents but still has divine payback to face because of his resistance to obeying Christ’s command. Christ adopts the form of the sea captain taking Andrew and his disciples on the dreaded trip to Mermedonia. As the two men talk, the conversation turns to the subject of Andrew’s master—the one who preached and performed miracles. The apostle falls for the sailor’s trick and proceeds to tell him stories about Christ until the ship lands. Once in Mermedonia, Andrew gives conflicting reports about his lengthy conversation with this sea captain. To his men, the apostle alleges that even though Christ had disguised his form (856, þeh he his mægwlite besiðen hæfde), he recognized Christ’s speech (855, word).1 A short time later, however, Andrew makes no such claim to Christ himself. Instead, he asks Christ why he was unable to recognize him on the sea voyage.


Vocal Performance Divine Revelation Loud Voice Christian Teaching Exeter Book 
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© Mary Hayes 2011

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  • Mary Hayes

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