Bible for Medievalists

Course Description: 

The Bible played a fundamental role in varied ways in the formation of the intellectual (and also material) culture of the Middle Ages. The “language and the logic of the Bible” shaped (to different degrees) the form of the church as an institution, her legal system, the liturgy, the sermons, iconography, theology, and ultimately profane literature, too. The biblical and the Bible-related texts provided ideas and frameworks not only for theology (often termed as sacra pagina), but also for iconographic and building programs, and offered role-models for social behaviour, or even for imperial or royal ideologies. In short, the characteristic facets of the historic shape of the church (reflected in its changes) and many aspects of medieval social life or material culture cannot be understood without a substantial knowledge of the texts providing the matrix for these aspects, including the methods by which the Bible was interpreted (and the ways the Bible  was present). The introductory course will help students to familiarize themselves through the close reading of choice texts (in commentaries) with some basic ideas, concepts and vocabulary of the institutionalized understanding and interpretation of the Bible from its Hellenistic shape to the final phase of the Mediaeval Bible (early 16th c.).

Learning Outcomes: 

Developing an understanding of the role of the Bible as a normative conceptual framework during the Latin and Byzantine Middle Ages. Familiarity with the books and the significant stories which were popular frames of reference. Understanding the development of the text and the canon of the LXX and the Vulgate.


10 class journals