Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe

Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe

by Erminia Ardissino, Elise Boillet
English | 2020 | ISBN: 9004417427 | 329 Pages | PDF | 5.3 MB

This essay collection aims to bring together new comparative research studies on the place of the Bible in early modern Europe. It focuses on lay readings of the Bible, showing their central contribution to modernity, and interrogates established historical paradigms.

'Lay Readings of the Bible' refers, beyond the question of the access to the Bible for laypeople, to the participation of the laity in a range of Bible-based practices, such as reading, reciting, singing, listening, praying, meditating, engaging in exchanges and discussions, taking part in rituals and ceremonies, buying, borrowing, lending, editing, printing and selling books, copying biblical passages, rewriting them, and writing para-biblical literature, or literary works inspired by the Bible, all activities that constitute forms of interpretation implying emotional, intellectual, moral, and spiritual involvement.

The dissemination of biblical knowledge was neither limited to Protestant countries, nor to editions and translations of the Bible, nor to a few specific purposes and uses, nor to some limited audiences, but rather involved readers and listeners, men and women, people of all social status, culture and occupations, the devout and libertines. Thinking in terms of European patterns, the Bible constituted a common reference point in a politically and religiously fragmented early modern world, a common background and starting point for study and discussion across confessional divides and political boundaries


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