This article argues that if we consider the Old English Wonders of the East in the context of the British Library, Cotton Tiberius B.v manuscript rather than in the context of British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.xv (ff. 94r-209v), the purpose of the text is made clear: instead of being fundamentally ‘about’ monsters, the text is more concerned with questions of epistemology and its dangers. This view clarifies the reason for the Tiberius Wonders’ inclusion of the often-perplexing fragment of the apocryphon of Jamnes and Mambres, which offers a key for understanding the distancing methods the text employs in its preceding descriptions of wondrous creatures. Ultimately, the article argues that the Old English Wonders as found in the Tiberius manuscript makes a strong claim that knowledge, and its acquisition, are potentially dangerous enterprises.

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