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198 conclusion Digitaleditions,evokedinthisbook’sintroduction,haveprovedinvaluable for the current analysis of Bibles and related texts.Search engines,scanned glosses, and virtual Bibles have assisted in the identification and retrieval of biblical snippets and allusions, in tracing chant variations and iconographic traditions. This, however, is a mixed blessing. The digital era has ushered in an unprecedented ease in consulting the Latin Bible, a change comparable to that of the Late Medieval Bible and its later dissemination in manuscript and print.Bibles and a universe of scholarly tools are now at one’s fingertips, in a hitherto unknown immediacy. Such proximity has its own perils.The new technology brings one closer to the biblical text,but at the same time can remove the layers of mediation that have evolved around it for centuries. I do not wish to invoke here John Locke’s lament for the introduction of verse and chapter division.Locke feared that the new technology detached readers from the earliest strata of the Bible. Currently, the opposite is taking place. Websites enable readers to tap into levels of biblical scholarship which have hitherto been the prerogative of a few. Users can now quickly compare episodes in the synoptic and apocryphal Gospels,consult a multitude of translations,or browse digital images of the earliest known Bibles in a quality that is imitating (and at times surpasses) that of an in situ examination.1 In this new environment one can too easily create a boundary between the Bible and extra-biblical elements; the quick and easy identification of biblical snippets can exclude the strata of sensual qualitiesattachedtoitsperformanceanddepiction,drawingoneawayfrom the Bible as it was known and disseminated over the centuries.The current study of biblical mediation has revealed that channels of transmission were part and parcel of the medieval Bible,embedded into the understanding of the biblical text itself.Trying to differentiate between liturgical and biblical echoes, or between the ‘pure’ Bible and preachers’ rhetoric, is therefore futile, as well as against the grain of medieval biblical knowledge. When sacred books were judged by their covers,and manuscripts encoded a very specific form of biblical knowledge, it was the medium that contributed associations, emphases, sensory and emotional experiences, in dialogue with the complexity and multiple layers of the Bible itself. MUP_Poleg_BibleMedievalEngland.indd 198 10/07/2013 16:25 199 conclusion The shift of emphasis from origins to mediation reveals the unique­ characteristics of individual channels of transmission. Different media transmitted the Bible in very different ways. Liturgy and preaching were two of the most strongly connected forms of biblical mediation. They shared performative and textual elements, as well as a need to bring the Bible to life.Their perennial link did not,however,lead to a similar deployment of the Bible. The creation of a quasi–biblical language rendered biblical and liturgical texts inseparable,while the biblical fabric of sermons was woven with clearly demarcated proofs, relying on identifiable biblical references and quotation formulae. This distinction is reflected in the two media’s manuscript culture: in sermons collections biblical components are singled out, clearly demarcated by quotation formulae and references (at times with a touch of colour or marginal notes directing readers to these allusions); in liturgical manuscripts, on the other hand, all texts – biblical or extra-biblical – are written similarly.Sermons presented biblical conundrums and contradictions, elements foreign to liturgical rites; preachers celebrated in the complexity of the biblical text, only glanced upon in liturgical spectacles.The crowd welcoming Christ on the outskirts of Jerusalem was too similar to that at Jesus’s trial five days later. In the performance of Palm Sunday this was silently resolved by bringing in the children from the subsequent episode at the Temple. Preachers, on the other hand, celebrated such difficulties, at times complicating even the simplest biblical narrative almost beyond reckoning. The exact identity of the Apostles sent to retrieve the ass, the occurrences on their way, and the route taken by Christ were all explored by preachers at length, witnesses to the deep mysteries of the Bible. The existence of two animals on Christ’s path to Jerusalem – emanating from Jerome’s misinterpretation of the biblical text – exemplifies a bone of contention between liturgy and preaching.Whereas liturgical texts and performances made little reference to this difficult duality, preachers saw in it an opportunity to weave their own interpretation into the biblical narrative. These differences are at the core of the two media: the aesthetics of late medieval preachers had led them to...


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