Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity

Article excerpt

The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity. Edited by Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly. (New York: Columbia University Press. 2011. Pp. xii, 364. $8950 clothbound, ISBN 978-0-31-14826-9; $29.50 paperback, ISBN 978-0-23114827-6; e-book, ISBN 978-0-231-52739-2.)

Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly have brought together fourteen essays to "explore the liturgical, exegetical, and pastoral expressions of the Bible in physical, textual, and aural forms and the way these shaped contemporary understanding of the Bible's contents and its place in Christian society" (p. 6). It is a tall order and one only partially achieved. The book includes an introduction by Boynton and Reilly and essays by Boynton (on liturgy), Richard Gyug (on Beneventan), Isabelle Cochelin (on monastic Bibles), Jennifer Harris (on Bible and history), Reilly (on lectern Bibles), Lila Yawn (on giant Bibles), Frans van Liere (on twelfth-century exegesis), Bert Roest (on mendicant exegesis), Eyal Poleg (on sermons), Laura Light (on the Paris Bible), Stella Panavo tova (on illustrated Psalters); Richard Marsden (on English translations), Clive Sneddon (on French translations), and Emily Francomano (on Castilian translations).

None of the essays is without interest, and some are excellent, but they sit together uneasily. The target audience is unclear- some (indeed, some of the best) essays seem to have been given the brief of a wide survey of their particular field (e. …

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