This collection of essays offers new perspectives that foster our understanding
of the crucial role the Bible played in medieval culture as well as in the wake
of the Reformation across Europe. The thirteen essays open up new horizons for
the study of biblical drama by putting special emphasis on periodisation, the
intersections of biblical narrative and performance, and the strategies employed
by playwrights to rework and adapt the biblical source material. Special
emphasis is placed on multitemporality, transnationality, and the modalities of
performance and form in relation to the uses of the Bible in medieval and early
modern drama. The three aspects are intertwined: particular modalities of
performance evolve, adapt and are re-created as they intersect with different
historical times and circumstances. These intersections pertain to aspects such
as dramatic traditions, confessional and religious rites, dogmas and debates,
conceptualisations of performance and form, and audience response – whenever the
Bible is evoked for performative purposes. The collection thus stresses the
co-presence of biblical and contemporary concerns in the periods under
discussion, conceiving of biblical drama as a central participant in the dynamic
struggle to both interpret and translate the Bible.
Wilson, Israelitish Origin , pp. 80–1.
Joep Leerssen, ‘On the Edge of Europe: Ireland in Search of Oriental roots, 1650–1850,’ Comparative Criticism , 8 (1986), 94–6; Brian H. Murray, ‘The Last of the Milesians: In Search of Ireland's Biblical Past, 1760–1900’, in Bradford Anderson and Jonathan Kearney, eds, Ireland and the ReceptionoftheBible: Social and Cultural
Newer research, however, suggests that the process of translation and reading of the Scriptures cannot be studied in isolation from imperial networks. The works of Hilary Carey, Hephzibah Israel, Isabel Hofmeyr, Heather Sharkey, Stephen Batalden, R. S. Sugirtharajah and others, some of them contributors to this book, have opened up important conversations about the receptionoftheBible in imperial (and mostly non-western) contexts.
In Chapter 6 of this volume, Batalden shows how the Bible Society's presence