pronouncement. Liturgical language and
scriptural quotations are a fundamental part of the consecration
ceremony. The church becomes a matrix of the sacred word which
strengthens the material fabric and provides resources for its
symbolic interpretation. As Durandus states, the church is ‘walled
with the fortifications of the scripture’.69
The symbolic significance of Jerusalem is crucial to the
consecration of sacred space because not only is the church the
house of God on earth, it is also the gate of heaven (Genesis, 28.17).
‘Jerusalem’ signifies both the terrestrial and
particular sins.7 Reconciliation
with God, these materials suggested, was an extended and intricate process. The Gospel parable, in contrast, includes neither the
vocabulary typical of penitential literature nor the ecclesiastical
The politics of Middle English parables
structures through which late medieval Christians sought to atone
for their sins.
We might expect that for some, such as the Wycliffite writers
who insisted that scripture should be the foundation of all Christian
living, sacramental rituals may appear extra-scriptural, unnecessary, or even corrupt
Europe it was the cost of manuscripts, degrees of literacy, or social boundaries that determined people’s access to the Christian Scripture. Devoid of close contact with the biblical text, the majority of men and women experienced the Bible through a carefully structured array of rituals and images, sermons and chants. These media are at the core of this book as it follows the ways the Bible was sung and preached, revered and studied in medieval England; as it traces how the Bible was mediated and known across the social and cultural boundaries of literacy and piety
speaker from whom he might demand answers. In imagining clasping Moses, Augustine becomes an urgent audience member, concentrating his ears and begging him to explain his scripture. Yet at the same time, Augustine recognises the impossibility of his imaginative act of desire. Separated from creation and scripture by the passage of time, he can only approach the mysteries of creation through the less visceral processes of oral and written narrative transmission and translation. Even if he were able to bring a figure from the Hebrew past to speak in his presence
Linear time and Jewish conversion in the N-Town plays
course know that he is due to be cuckolded, albeit by God. They also know Joseph’s position in biblical history will work against his desire for a quiet married life. Joseph’s appeal to his audience’s shared knowledge of secular and scriptural narratives therefore suggests that his character was carefully constructed to solicit both sympathy and laughter. Bringing scripture and medieval marital conflicts into co-existence, N-Town imagines a Joseph whose perspectives on marriage are informed by contemporary comic literature.
Joseph’s awareness of his own
Biblical plays between Czech drama and English comedy in early modern
These are the words of Adam Tesák Brodský at the beginning of his father Juraj Tesák Mošovský's Comedy from a Book of God's Testament Named Ruth ( Komedie z Kníhy Zákona Božího, jenž slove Ruth ; Ruth 1604), printed in Prague in 1604. What is more, Tesák Brodský admonishes that ‘nadto nesluší těmi, kteréž ex fontibus Israel, to jest, z studnic Písem svatých jsou sebrané, pohrdati’ (‘above all, it is unbeholding to scorn those comedies that are composed ex fontibus Israel , that is, from the springs of the Holy Scriptures’, A2r).
, though it might be laudable, was not always essential. Secondly, it works to examine what ‘mercy’ meant when translated into action. One could lump many different types of behaviour under the name of misericordia . But even the mercy recommended by scripture could be broken down into different actions, of varying ‘strengths’ – mercy could be made more potent or more dilute. Moreover, if the divine promise (or divine threat) was that no one who judged without mercy would receive mercy from God, working out exactly what ‘mercy’ entailed in practice was vital to
figure than the venal friars satirised by Chaucer. Yet Heywood does not venture beyond such hints. His engagement with the real issues at stake in the doctrinal disputes of the period is superficial at best. And even his use of the biblical text is limited. For his point proves to be that the Friar's teaching is actually not as rooted in the Scriptures as he claims; his evangelism is merely a pose. Hence this Reformer says nothing about the nature of Justification or about the mass or Real Presence; he makes no objection to the ‘idolatry’ of saint worship, the use of
eternal time, in which all moments in Jewish and Christian history are simultaneously ‘true’ of their playing space, and the sequential time enacted by the figures represented in the performance. Their knowledge of the past (scriptures) would have informed their knowledge of the ‘present’ performance’s ending, or ‘future’. Yet while possessing foreknowledge of the choices the represented dramatic personae would make, the audience was limited in their ability to influence those choices. Even if a spectator were to shout out a warning, Eve would still eat the apple
only means of describing or explaining the nature of justice. Indeed, in many ways it was lacking, because – as Christian theologians had long recognised – referring to justice as a matter of strictly calculated due failed to capture one of the ideas frequently emphasised and endorsed by scripture: that justice and mercy were tied together, and that misericordia either represented an important constitutive part of justice, or was in some way a principle capable of overriding justice. 19
Scripture argued for an understanding of justice which