The tradition of Old English studies is involved in the ongoing creation of an
Anglo-Saxonist professional identity. This identity is made manifest through
not only constructed from historical documents concerning Anglo-Saxon society,
but also through a lineage of scholars that have worked in the field before
day. The intent of tradition in general, according to Eric Hobsbawm, is
to create social cohesion within a professional group and to socialise new
members. Within Old English studies this is accomplished by ensuring that
read the same texts in the same way, as well as socialising new members into
group through “the inculcation of beliefs, value systems and conventions of
8 The tradition is only made visible when a scholar rejects the conventions.
scholar is brought in line through a number of restraining actions, one of
which is the
accusation of a lack of formal knowledge of Old English, or of a theoretical
This is a reaction, grounded in tradition, against a scholar defying the
rejecting the social cohesion of the group.