TOPOI (Rhetoric), LOVE, BIBLE & literature, and CRITICISM & interpretation of Shakespeare's works
Combining a sensual celebration of love with a well-established tradition of allegorical exegesis, the Song of Songs, one of the most poetic and debated among the biblical books, is a text that has played a crucial role in the shaping of love language since the very beginning of Western vernacular literature. Among the many Song-derived topoi, the controversial one of the “black but comely” beloved (Song 1:4-5) proved particularly appealing to Shakespeare. As this study will reveal, not only is the biblical passage echoed in many of his works (1 Henry VI, The Merchant of Venice, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Antony and Cleopatra, The Sonnets), but it is endowed with a particularly significant role. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Coreopsis: A Journal of Myth & Theater. Autumn2017, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p1-22. 22p.
SYMBOLISM in the Bible, FISHES, and RELIGIOUS aspects
This paper examines archetypal, initiatory symbolism in interconnected Biblical narratives, the Old Testament story of Jonah and the Fish (or Whale) and the apocryphal story known as the Harrowing of Hell, a metaphorical relationship alluded to in Jesus Christ's cryptic reference to the "sign of Jonah." An amplification of the imagery indicates the symbolic identity of these two mythico-ritual, structural motifs and relates the imagery in both stories to widely distributed primordial rebirth symbolism common to aboriginal people across the world. The interpretive framework for this literary analysis is grounded in a cross-cultural, trans-medial, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective derived from the psychological criticism of Carl G. Jung and scholars influenced by Jung's archetypal theories, including Joseph Campbell (comparative mythology/literary mythology), Mircea Eliade (history of religions), Northrop Frye (archetypal literary criticism), and others. The study contributes to an interdisciplinary hermeneutic of archetypal, mythico-ritual imagery found in dreams, fairy tales, and religious myths and rituals, as well as literary and film narratives. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Publishers Weekly. Nov 11, 2019, Vol. 266 Issue 45, p1, 4 p.
Market trend/market analysis, Biblical scholars -- Forecasts and trends, Bible and literature -- Forecasts and trends, Bible as literature -- Forecasts and trends, Biblical hermeneutics -- Forecasts and trends, and Women scholars -- Forecasts and trends
According to Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun, but when biblical scholars convene at the 2019 American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference, which runs November 23-26 [...]
From the late 1530s, when the translation of the Scriptures into English was authorised, there rapidly developed a new body of lay Bible-readers with new practices of reading and interpretation of the Bible. While the traditional biblical drama of the late middle ages was gradually suppressed or abandoned, a new generation of plays on scriptural subjects emerged, written by and addressed to these new readers. This paper explores the ways in which mid-sixteenth-century playwrights responded to the lively culture of Bible-reading in the early years of the Reformation. Increased focus on the literal, social and ethical implications of biblical stories guided playwrights towards a greatly expanded body of powerful narratives, which raised challenging human issues, allowing strong theatrical interpretation in relation to contemporary concerns. But the new theatrical strategies do not always sit quite comfortably with the special status accorded by Protestantism to the Bible as the word of God. These Reformation plays begin to suggest crucial tensions between drama and doctrine, inadvertently reinforcing the gradually increasing Protestant unease with the stage as a forum in which to address the Bible. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
National Review. August 26, 2019, Vol. 71 Issue 15, p34, 4 p.
Bible and literature and Bible as literature
Should conservatives think of themselves as classical liberals? In his new book, The Conservative Sensibility, George Will will have American conservatives only as "the custodians of the classical liberal tradition." [...]
In arguing for possible reactions to the pageants of the York Corpus Christi Play in the early-fifteenth century, this essay looks at a range of material, not all of it contemporary with the period under consideration. It investigates evidence from sermons and other religious writing, memoirs of spiritually-inspired women, a letter from the year 600 written by Gregory the Great, pictorial narrative in the twelfth-century St. Albans Psalter, and civic documents, including records from York relating to two pageants for which no texts survive, The Hanging of Judas and The Funeral of the Virgin (Fergus). Much of this material has been examined before by theatre scholars, but consolidated re-examination here allows for further speculation. While it is impossible to define audience reception of theatrical events in any age or any culture with anything approaching precision, this discussion takes into account the social and spiritual nature of the York Play to suggest ways in which the ruling civic authorities and the guilds that had responsibility for the financing and presentation of the pageants may have attempted to shape audience responses to their Play, and in turn, may have shaped their Play in response to perceived audience reactions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
The York Corpus Christi play cycle was a remarkably long-lived civic event requiring concerted and enthusiastic local effort. The plays dramatized sacred history from Creation to Doomsday. Sponsored by the city Corporation rather than the Church, they were designated as a work of charity for the benefit of the spectators. Their object was not didactic but rather a representation of salvation history that would be held in the memory of participants and spectators for their spiritual benefit. Designed to make the past present, they were expected to reinforce cultural memory of the Christian narrative, especially the events at the centre of history (the time of Jesus the Saviour). A goal was the formation of civic identity as catholic Christians. The plays, using canonical and other sources available to the authors of the texts, provided a view of the past from biblical history that would make the central events of past salvation history to be present for spectators. In conclusion, the Doomsday play brought to mind that which was expected to come at the end of history. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
In March 2013, I directed two Passion Pageants from the York Mysteries - The Conspiracy and Christ before Annas and Caiaphas (hereafter Conspiracy and Annas and Caiaphas). Each of them is both sacred and profane, devotional and political, providing an arena for social contestation. I analyse the two pageants through the prism of festive drama and play: the ludic interrogation of society, power and violence in both word and ritual. My interdisciplinary approach ranges from the carnivalesque and anthropology to Christian hermeneutics and art history; and I examine key discourses, rituals and plot developments nourished by both religious and secular sources.1 I proceed to apply the performance theories of Jerzy Grotowski and Jacques Lecoq, two twentieth-century theatre-makers, to the pageants; their thoughts and observations (alongside Walter Benjamin's theory of history and anachronism) complement medieval theatre scholarship and further inform how to approach the performance of this drama, in terms of theatricality, performance practice and acting styles. Informed by all the above, I discuss how I approached my own production in terms of staging, performance and interpretation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
BIBLE plays, THEATRICAL scenery, and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ
This essay is a comparison between ways of dramatizing the Resurrection in England and France. It establishes a core of items which are incorporated in many versions, short and long, as well as non-biblical elements which are frequently attached to the scriptural details. The experience of possible audiences who must have drawn upon existing recollected items is considered as well as the inclusion of musical and visual referents. The dramatic structure and development of the chosen plays are reviewed in order to illustrate the variety of the theatrical elements. Attention is paid to the reasons for including the Resurrection, which for some plays was a matter of defining, rehearsing or sustaining belief. Such material is relevant to the central item in Resurrection sequences, the moment when Christ rises from the tomb, and the way this is presented in the dramatic texts. The reticence with which this is treated is found to be one of the essential aspects of the dramatizations, which are largely influenced by versions in the Scriptures but are not entirely determined by them. This aspect of the plays is shown to be performed in ways which sustain the mystery inherent in it, and this is seen against a background of belief in what was familiar though it had a sustained spiritual reference. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
The surviving fragment of the Newcastle Flood play unusually shows Mrs Noah being tempted by Satan to disrupt the building of the ark. This essay examines other instances of female temptation by Satan within the extant Corpus Christi plays in order to establish the dramatic principles behind their effectiveness. It concludes that the compilers of the dramatic scenes readily departed from biblical antecedents in constructing the pageants. One reason for this is that they recognised the dramatic potential in staging temptation and were therefore keen to fully exploit the material. This led to accretions to the biblical material, such as the inclusion of Satan in the Flood drama at Newcastle. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
This essay situates Middle English biblical plays in the context of contemporary ecclesiastical legislation and religious controversy, using the pageants on the Baptism of Christ from the York Corpus Christi Play, the N-Town manuscript, and the Towneley manuscript as a case study and the same episode from various French mystères for comparative purposes. The French dramatists included preaching on penance as standard practice for this episode, and were prone to identify these sermons as such; English dramatists, on the other hand, appear to have tried to avoid staging a sermon or mentioning penance. In particular, I argue that the unwillingness by the playwrights of the York and Towneley plays to stage a sermon is due to an atmosphere of anxiety and selfcensorship following Arundel's Constitutions of 1409, which restricted preaching to specially licensed members of the clergy. The N-Town play does feature a preaching protagonist, unlike the pageants from York and Towneley. However, the truly remarkable insistence on confession in the N-Town pageant, a point of contention between the orthodox authorities and Lollards, serves to make explicit the orthodox affiliation of the play. These references thereby also make the on-stage sermon less controversial for Church authorities. Both the lack of sermons in York and Towneley, and the insistence on confession in N-Town indicate the extent to which medieval English biblical plays were affected by current controversies about who had the right to preach to the laity. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
This essay deals with the two versions of the Fall of Man episode, the only surviving play(s) of the lost Norwich cycle of mystery plays (the A and B texts). After discussing their scholarly reception, this article highlights the main differences between the pre- Reformation and the post-Reformation texts, focussing on the endings, perceptibly different because in the Reformed text a more positive and hopeful future for Adam and Eve is substituted to the tone of utter despair of the Catholic version. At the end of the episode, the B text introduces allegorical characters, thus mixing the mystery and the moral play traditions. The relationships and parallels between the Norwich plays and the other extant cycles are then studied, emphasizing the characterization of the protagonists (Adam, Eve, and the devil) and showing how even the attempt at 'reforming' a Catholic play still relies heavily on the old tradition, so much so that prologues are introduced in the B text, in order to justify the legitimacy of a Biblical play (when strictly adhering to the Scriptures) even under the new religion. Despite the efforts of the compiler of the more recent text, the last known performance in Norwich was as early as 1565. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Beverley, in the historical East Riding of Yorkshire, is known - from extant local manuscript evidence covering almost 150 years - to have had a Corpus Christi play like York, thirty miles to the north-west. The surviving Beverley manuscript records witness a play structure and performance method similar to that of York, though on a smaller scale: up to thirty-six pageants performed by craft guilds and other local groups on wagons at six stations over a route through the town from the North Bar to the port area at the Beckside. But whereas York also provides a play text which the manuscript evidence can support, from Beverley only records survive. This essay investigates the surviving evidence from Beverley itself as well as comparisons with extant play texts from York and elsewhere, and analogous evidence from Biblical subjects depicted in late medieval art, to try to establish how much we can learn from a play-text-less body of evidence about the content and nature of the Beverley play and its performance. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
An introduction is presented which discusses various essays within the issue on topics related to biblical drama including developments and alterations in the Bible, exploitation of the Bible, and the relationship between dramatic text and the performance.