In reponse to bls’s comment–here’s some real early medieval theology for ya! It’s a chunk of chapter 2 wherein I collect from several sources the fundamental narrative that Aelfric works from. My working title for this file is “Aelfric’s Kerygma.” Enjoy…
Ælfric constantly returns to a core narrative of redemption throughout his homilies and other writings. While the content of this narrative is implicit inhis works, he explicitly presents it in four texts: the first sermon of the first book of the Catholic Homilies (CH I.1) where it is most clearly and directly defined, the Letter to Sigeweard (Sige) where it is interwoven with the whole history of Israel, and the Letter to Wulfgeat (Wulf) and the second Letter to Wulfstan (2Lup) where it appears in summary.
The heart of the narrative is the story of the creeds: The Holy Trinity, one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is eternal and pre-existent. [CH I.1.6-9, 17-21; Sige.30-44; Wulf] The Trinity–primarily through the Father and the Son–created the world, all things seen and unseen. [CH I.1.9-13, 21; Sige.28-34; Wulf] The Holy Spirit holds all things in life and forgives those who truly repent [Sige.40-44; Wulf].
In the process of creation, God created ten angel hosts. [CH I.1.22-26; Sige.51-54; Wulf] The tenth host, led by Lucifer, rebelled against God on account of Lucifer’s pride [CH I.1.29-43; Sige.67-101; Wulf] and were cast from heaven. [CH I.1.43-45; Sige.101-105] This host exists now as the demonic order. [CH I.1.26-27, 34-39, 57-62; Sige.105-107; Wulf] In order to replace this host, [CH I.1.62-64; Sige.113-116] God created humanity–first Adam, then Eve–and placed them in the garden, [CH I.1.64-73, 86-94; Sige.108-113; Wulf] presenting the tree in the center of the garden as a test of obedience and loyalty–the loyalty that Satan and his host lacked. [CH I.1.74-83; Sige.116-117] Through the devil’s trickery Eve was deceived [CH I.1.125-139; Sige.117-118; Wulf] and humanity disobeyed God’s command, [CH I.1.139-142; Sige.118-119; Wulf] receiving dismisal from the garden and death as a consequence. [CH I.1.142-154; Sige.119-120; Wulf]
From Adam came Noah who had three sons; [CH I.1.181-190; Sige.158-161] after God led them through the flood, [CH I.1.191-202; Sige.150-156, 195-197] the eldest of the sons, Shem was the ancestor of the Hebrews [CH I.1.222-231; Sige.239-241] whom God rescued from Egypt [CH I.1.232; Sige.325-359] and to whom the Law was given. [CH I.1.232; Sige.366-370]
From the Hebrew people God chose the Blessed Virgin Mary [CH I.1.236-241; Sige.891-892; Wulf] from whom Jesus was born incarnate by the Holy Spirit. [CH I.1.241-245; Wulf] Jesus performed a great many miracles that the people might believe that he was the Son of God. [CH I.1.253-261; Sige.900, 913-917] He taught that humanity must believe rightly in God, be baptized, and demonstrate faith with good works. [CH I.1.261-264] Fundamentally, though, he came for the redemption of humanity. [CH I.1.245-246, 270-273; Sige.918; Wulf] The devil used Judas to incite the Jews to kill Jesus [CH I.1.265-275] and he was crucified. [CH I.1.275-276; Sige.917-918; Wulf] After the crucifixion he was buried [CH I.1.276-277; Wulf] and descended into hell where he conquered the devil [CH I.1.277-278; Wulf] and freed Adam, Eve, and their descendants. [CH I.1.278-280; Wulf] He arose from the dead on the third day [CH I.1.280-281; Sige.918-919; Wulf] and rejoined his disciples, teaching them that they must go throughout the earth, teaching and baptizing. [CH I.1.281-284] On the fortieth day he ascended bodily into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father. [CH I.1.284-287; Sige.919-920; Wulf] He will come at the end of time on the clouds with great power and will raise all souls that they may be judged. [CH I.1.287-291; Sige.920-921; Wulf] The wicked will be cast into eternal fire; the righteous he will bring into the heavenly kingdom. [CH I.1.291-293; Sige.922; Wulf]