Jacob Hobson

Jacob Hobson

421 Wheeler
OH: 11-12, at FSM
jehobson@berkeley.edu


Specialties

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

"Translation as Gloss in the Old English Boethius." Medium Ævum 86.2 (2017): 207-23. [in press]

"Euhemerism and the Veiling of History in Early Scandinavian Literature." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 116.1 (2017): 24-44.

"National-Ethnic Narratives in Eleventh-Century Literary Representations of Cnut." Anglo-Saxon England 43 (2014): 267-95.



Current Research

A postdoctoral lecturer, I specialize in the literatures of Anglo-Saxon England and medieval Scandinavia. My book project, “Subjects of the Sixth Age: Exegesis and Political Theology in Anglo-Saxon England,” advances beyond discussions about the political role of literature to ask how literary theory can have social effects. “Subjects of the Sixth Age” reveals how the practice of scriptural interpretation shaped Anglo-Saxon literature and society. Exegetical theory inscribes all human action in the seven morally charged ages of Christian salvation history, encompassing all historical time from Creation to Judgment Day. It provided a foundational method by which Anglo-Saxons read texts and in the process became a powerful structuring principle of sacred and secular society as a whole. With chapters on the Alfredian translations, liturgy, royal diplomas, dynastic poetry, and the law, this book shows how texts in several major genres from Anglo-Saxon England adapt and institutionalize exegetical theory to produce politically useful textual communities. Although charters and the heroic Battle of Brunanburh might be the last places we would expect to find the effect of exegetical reading, I show that it is precisely such texts where exegetical theory makes its influence known most effectively. These texts frame real politics and warfare as moments in the progress of world history, and they place contemporary individuals at the center of the action. In tracing the urgency of exegetical interpretation to textual communities from Alfred’s court to the minster at Eynsham, my book demonstrates that, for Anglo-Saxon England, salvation history provides the absolute and universal horizon of present action. My book contends that the exegetical interpretation of texts and events produces the Anglo-Saxon political subject as an actor in salvation history, one who is shaped by it at the same time that he or she works to further its progress. “Subjects of the Sixth Age” thus offers an object lesson in the way textual interpretation helps to construct a culture.



Recent English Courses Taught

Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/7 Research Seminar: Monsters, Exiles, and Outlaws in Medieval Literature Pre-1800 Requirement
Old English
Middle English
Research Seminars
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
117S/203 (discussion) Shakespeare Shakespeare
Fall, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
45A/201 (discussion) Literature in English: Through Milton Introductory Surveys

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