The poems Soul and Body I, beginning on folio f.101v of the Vercelli Book and Soul and Body II, beginning on f. 98r/10 of the Exeter Book, are clearly two versions of the same original poem. Since both manuscripts are ascribed to the later part of the 10th century, their common source must have been written before that.
The differences of phrasing that can be found in the common text do not affect the content - the address of a damned soul to its decaying body. But Soul and Body I goes further in adding an address of a saved soul to its body. Therefore, the more extensive Soul and Body I will serve as representative for both versions on this site.
|Even though the main focus of the poems (the address to the body) belongs to the typology of the less known visionary apocalypse, the message of the poem can be clearly understood as apocalyptic thinking and uses elements common to this field for its argumentation.|
|Old English Version|