One of the principal goals of the Ormulum project right from its first inception was the development of a new edition. The most recent previous edition, White and Holt (1878), is of use for some purposes, but as a philological and linguistic source it is limited. The new edition is now at a stage where I am contacting publishers, and I think it is ready for editorial review.

The first part is the Preface, which describes the purpose of the book and also includes a dedication, to Orrm's brother Walter, who apparently commissioned him to write his homilies. These are combined in this edition, which I will probably explain in a later blog.

The second, which we rather enigmatically call "Latin Texts", mostly comprises the Table of Contents for the full Ormulum. If this table of contents is to be believed, the Ormulum once contained 242 homilies, of which only 32 survive, and some in pretty scrappy shape.

After this introductory material come the Middle English homilies themselves, which correspond to the first 32 Latin gospel texts. A homily is a commentary on a particular Bible text, given in the form of sermon, focusing on the moral teachings and encouraging Christians to behave in a Christ-like way. Orrm's are no exception. Some of them have the gospel text first, then the exposition, in which case they have a single file (such as Homily V), sometimes they are in pairs, so that two gospel texts are given and then two expositions, one after the other (such as Homilies I/II). Finally, there is an appendix, which contains some text deleted from a folio. Another topic for another time.

In contrast to previous editions, several hundred lines are interpolated from a copy made by one of the owners, Jan Van Vliet, in the 17th century. I'll certainly come back to this in a later blog too, so lots to look forward to.   -Andrew