Mediations of the Bible in Late Medieval England.
Direct access to the Bible was the exception rather than the rule in medieval Europe. Limitations imposed by cost, sacrality and degrees of literacy determined people's ability to own or consult the Bible. The multitude of events and objects, which offered mediated access to the Bible, stand at the core of the dissertation. From liturgy and sermons to church murals and ornate Gospel Books, a mediated biblical world-view was presented to medieval audiences. A close analysis of these media reveals that, although relying on the Bible as a source of authority, its language and narrative were altered in an attempt to make it palatable and effective to medieval audiences. Analyses of specific test cases, such as Palm Sunday processions and Advent sermons, reveal a constant clerical effort of displaying the Bible and its narratives in visual, vernacular and performative ways. The Bible can never be divorced from its physical form and shape. Through an extensive survey of biblical manuscripts, their layout and additions, an inner-biblical hierarchy unfolds, in which the book of Psalms took precedence. This reflects not only the reception of the Psalms, but also the place of these manuscripts at the junction between preaching and liturgy. Attitudes towards biblical manuscripts, and especially gospel books, supply additional evidence for use and provenance of Bibles. An examination of veneration of the Bible in civic and ecclesiastical rituals, from the Ordinary of the Mass to oaths in courts of law, leads to a reevaluation of Bibles and gospel books. The dissertation leads to a new understanding of the Bible within the late medieval sacrede conomy. It shows how ritual behaviour, content and appearancew ere intertwined to present a complex notion of the Bible, which has endured until modernity.
- Theses