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.
–3. 23 Wilson, Israelitish Origin , pp. 80–1. 24 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 Reception of the Bible: 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 reception of the Bible in imperial (and mostly non-western) contexts. 46 In Chapter 6 of this volume, Batalden shows how the Bible Society's presence