Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama

Edited by Eva von Contzen and Chanita Goodblatt

Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3161-4
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: Literature, Medieval Literature, Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Literary studies: ancient & classical, RELIGION / Biblical Studies / History & Culture, DRAMA / Medieval, Biblical Exegesis & Hermeneutics, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Drama
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


The thirteen chapters in this collection open up new horizons for the study of biblical drama by putting special emphasis on multitemporality, the intersections of biblical narrative and performance, and the strategies employed by playwrights to rework and adapt the biblical source material in Catholic, Protestant and Jewish culture. Aspects under scrutiny include dramatic traditions, confessional and religious rites, dogmas and debates, conceptualisations of performance, and audience response. The contributors stress the co-presence of biblical and contemporary concerns in the periods under discussion, conceiving of biblical drama as a central participant in the dynamic struggle to both interpret and translate the Bible.


'There is much here to stimulate, and encourage new attention to the variety and complexity of biblical plays.'
Cathy Hume, Journal of British Studies


Introduction - Chanita Goodblatt and Eva von Contzen
Part I: Medieval drama
1 Lay piety and impiety: the role of Noah's wife in the Chester play of Noah's Flood - Lawrence Besserman
2 Typology, community, and stagecraft in the N-town 'Trial of Mary and Joseph' - Jonathan Stavsky
3 Embodiment and joint attention: an enactive reading of the Middle English cycle plays- Eva von Contzen
Part II: From medieval to early modern drama
4 From medieval to early modern choric threnody in biblical plays - Silvia Bigliazzi
5 The itinerant healer as a stage role: its origins in religious drama - M. A. Katritzky
6 Citing scripture in later medieval and early modern English morality drama - Cathy Shrank
7 Religious violence and dramatic innovation in the Tudor interlude: John Heywood's The Pardoner and the Friar - Greg Walker
8 Elizabethan biblical drama - Paul Whitfield White
Part III: Early modern drama
9 Protestant place, Protestant props in the plays of Nicholas Grimald- Elisabeth Dutton
10 Staging prophecy: A Looking Glass for London and the Book of Jonah- Hannibal Hamlin
11 Early modern dramatic martyrdom- Monika Fludernik
12 'Samson Figuru nese': biblical plays between Czech drama and English comedy in early modern Central Europe- Pavel Drábek
13 To play the Fool: the Book of Esther in early modern biblical drama- Chanita Goodblatt


Chanita Goodblatt is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Eva von Contzen is Junior Professor of English Literature at the University of Freiburg, Germany

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