E. Ann Matter

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20052006 Forum on Word and Image

E. Ann Matter

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Religious Studies

Word and Image in the Medieval Latin Bible

In contrast to the modern understanding of the Christian Bible as a textually set book bound into one large codex, the Bible of medieval Europe was seldom transmitted in a pandect. Despite Jerome's famous Vulgate translation, a proliferation of versions—often divided into smaller textual units (such as Gospel Books and Psalters) copied and bound separately—were available to medieval exegetes and theologians. This division of the Bible continued into the High Middle Ages when these small units of text facilitated the dissemination of the standard glossed Bible, the Glossa ordinaria. In the later Middle Ages, two large collections of biblical material with specifically visual interpretations were produced. The Bible moralisée, found in wealthy circles of European courts, particularly 13th-century Paris, and the Biblia pauperum dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, reflect the history of the material Bible.

As the co-editor of the medieval volume of The New Cambridge History of the Bible, Prof. Matter will write essays on the standardization of the biblical text and how it is represented in manuscripts from the 11th–14th centuries, as well as the particular representation of text and image in the Bible moralisée and the Biblia pauperum.