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A test case on Noah
Peter Phillips

task. The volitional axis represents his quest; the power axis, the struggle involved in its execution. Thus, a story in which a king sends a prince to find his daughter, and in which the prince is waylaid by bandits before being helped by a magic horse to his prize would be schematized by Greimas as follows: Figure 2.2 Greimas’ theory applied to a story of a prince helped by a magic horse to save a princess. Roland Barthes had explored applying actantial analysis to the biblical narrative, specifically to Genesis 32, the story of Jacob’s struggle at Peniel

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium

This book is an open-ended critical account of the Gawain-poems. The four poems of MS Cotton Nero A.x, Art. 3 are untitled in the manuscript, but titled by modern editors, in manuscript order: Pearl, Cleanness (or Purity), Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The poems testify that he was cultivated, with an appreciation of the finer points of chivalric life, and also deeply religious - a cleric, no doubt, given his biblical knowledge, his interest in Christian doctrine, and his understanding of sermon style. Pearl is a religious dream-vision in which the dream is largely taken up by dialogue between the narrator or dreamer, as a figure in his dream, and a woman who is a fount of divine wisdom. Cleanness combines discussion of a religious virtue with retelling of stories from the Bible. Its three main stories are from the Old Testament, and they centre on Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Belshazzar's feast. Patience is a poem that combines discussion of a moral quality with biblical narrative, in the case of Patience, one narrative only, the story of Jonah.Sir Gawain is a record of, and tribute to, the beauties and pleasures of chivalric life. Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience suggest that for the poet national events may have merged with events in his own life to challenge his faith. With Gawain too it is possible that the public and the personal intermingle to shake his faith in chivalry and the feudal model of social order.


The introduction of a vernacular Bible changed biblical discourse in late medieval England. This book seeks to explore the mundane uses of the Bible and the daily contact with the divine in four instances: liturgical spectacles, talismanic uses, the layout of biblical manuscripts, and sermons. These instances weave a single narrative, which moves between antiquity and change, performance and material culture. Liturgical rites are explored for their texts, as for their use of sacred books, and innovative biblical manuscripts were tied with medieval sermons, the obverse of liturgical rites. The book begins with Palm Sunday, an important liturgical celebration, which provided an opportunity for many to integrate joy and participation into the biblical narrative. Then, it examines the Bible in liturgical spectacles, but in another manifestation. Not only text and narrative, Bibles were also sacred objects, employed in Masses and oath rituals. Innovative forms of biblical manuscripts, however, emerged at the beginning of the thirteenth century. These mass-produced Bibles are examined for their carefully structured array of ink and scripts, rubrics and addenda, for their specific means of engaging with the biblical text. They were utilitarian objects, employed by trained professionals. The book finds a prime audience of these manuscripts among late medieval preachers. Three Advent Sunday sermons demonstrate how the format of biblical manuscripts corresponded to the rise of the new form of preaching. It demonstrates how a new facet of the Bible unfolded in these elaborate sermons to engage with biblical words and texts.

Clarice Greco
Mariana Marques de Lima
, and
Tissiana Nogueira Pereira

ability to gather multiple audiences and to create a collective imaginary that, in Brazil, acquires a special status if we think of telenovelas, a hugely important cultural product in the country. Our analysis of fictional biblical narratives in Brazil draws on Cultural Studies and, especially, on Mediation Theory (Martín-Barbero 1987 ) as we believe cultural expressions, as in the case of telenovelas and TV series, must be scrutinised in terms of their insertion in everyday life within a historical and political context. It is thus possible to see and reflect upon

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
Early modern reproach of Zipporah and Michal
Michele Osherow

praise; even those figures clearly celebrated in biblical narratives have their virtues undercut in more and less subtle ways: Thomas Bentley associates the prophetess Deborah with babbling speech ( 1582 : Lampe 7, 137) and John Mayer wonders at Esther’s immodest approach to Ahasverous ( 1647 : 57). This grappling with the Bible’s heroines demonstrates the period’s difficulty

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
Heather Walton

‘religious readers’ seek, through literature, to voice a protest against the exclusion of the suffering flesh from the grammar of theology. The use of literature in canonical narrative theology Behind the Bible I begin my discussion of canonical narrative theology with Hans Frei’s important book, The Decline of Biblical Narrative. Published in 1974, this work was to be of great significance in restoring an authority to theology which had been severely challenged during the previous tumultuous decade. It was Frei’s main argument that, owing to the rise of historical

in Literature, theology and feminism
Abstract only
Eyal Poleg

exposure to biblical stories was shared by all. Yet, biblical knowledge was distributed unevenly. The higher echelons of society benefited from a dynamic and rich manuscript culture (as in books of hours or illuminated Apocalypses), from private chapels and clergy to serve their needs and respond to their devotions and interests. Nor did the sacrality of the Bible affect all equally. Priests were the mediators par excellence and enjoyed a unique proximity to sacred books and biblical narratives. Self-fashioned angels, they bridged the mediated gap in sermons and chant

in Approaching the Bible in medieval England
Abstract only
Gareth Atkins
Shinjini Das
, and
Brian H. Murray

social contexts. Settlers abroad continually faced the challenge of singing the Lord's song in a strange land, and if many colonised and conquered peoples resisted the imposition of biblical narratives, they also appropriated biblical tropes to their own ends. Across America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, scriptural stories, scenes and phrases provided ideological ammunition for liberation and nationalist movements; and by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they also fuelled scholarly accounts that challenged the superiority and exceptionalism of

in Chosen peoples
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The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away
J. J. Anderson

Introduction Patience is a poem of the same kind as Cleanness in that it too combines discussion of a moral quality with biblical narrative – in the case of Patience , one narrative only, the story of Jonah. In both poems human beings are at odds with God, but the outcomes are very different. Cleanness has a God who subordinates his mercy to his justice, Patience a God who subordinates justice to mercy. Death threatens, but no one dies. Cleanness is cosmic in scale and uncompromising in its message and its rhetoric: On spec of a spote ( Cleanness

in Language and imagination in the Gawain-poems
Hilary M. Carey

race, language and descent were expounded in the southern British colonies and Oceania. These lands included Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Oceania, regions which had been mapped during James Cook's voyages of exploration in the eighteenth century and which were swiftly infiltrated by British colonial forces including their dynamic, mostly Protestant, missionary societies. This chapter will seek to place the particular views of John Fraser within this wider frame, analysing the contemporary and more recent reception of biblical narratives of race

in Chosen peoples