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Temporal origami in the Towneley Herod the Great
Daisy Black

episodes where Herod commands his men to search their books ‘for any thing / If ye find of sich a kyng’. 6 This gives the past a textual nature which has the ability both to threaten and to inform present action, as Herod’s councillors scour the pages of scripture to guide the king’s actions. Unlike the other dramatic personae discussed so far, Herod actively reads time as the product of ‘bookys’, and thus as malleable as the vellum on which his strikingly medieval library was written. This figuring of time as textual construct places a greater emphasis on the

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What God was doing before he created the world
Daisy Black

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

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Linear time and Jewish conversion in the N-Town plays
Daisy Black

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

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The spectator’s God’s-eye view
Daisy Black

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

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Fantasies of supersession and explosive questions in the York and Chester Flood plays
Daisy Black

emerges. This is performed as part of the larger pattern of supersession and salvation within Christian historical understanding, which, as Chapter 1 showed, underpinned a typological reading designed to bring Hebrew and Christian scriptures into a single narrative. Yet Noah’s supersessionary perspective appears more absolute than those at work in the N-Town Joseph’s Doubt . While Mary and Noah are both future-oriented, Mary’s supersessionary model hinges on the conviction and conversion of her husband and attempts to assimilate the authority of the Hebrew past into

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Queering the Nativity in the Towneley Second Shepherds’ Play
Daisy Black

’s entry into the house what his intentions are: ‘I wold he were slayn, I lyst well ete.’ 128 Gyll’s oath also operates as a joke about dramatic and scriptural interpretation. When she tells the shepherds, ‘If euer I you begyld, / That I ete this chylde / That lygys in this credyll’, she knows the shepherds will take her words figuratively, where she means them literally. 129 This produces an intriguing reversal of the kinds of reading I examined in Chapter 1 , where Joseph’s literal reading clashed with a figurative reading of Mary’s body and scripture. This device

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