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Biblical versifications from late antiquity to the middle of the thirteenth century: History or allegory?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on one area of biblically-inspired literary activity in the Middle Ages, a field that was once fertile and important but has remained on the periphery of scholarly inquiry: the versification of the Bible. It examines a poetical corpus that comprises Latin biblical versifications written in either hexameters or elegiac couplets, which either tell a story based on a biblical narrative or versify a biblical book. The chapter tries to answer the following questions: To what extent does medieval biblical versification pertain to the epic genre, and is this at all a term that we can apply to the biblical compositions of the poets in the later Middle Ages? How do literary trends and fashions develop in the course of the one thousand years under scrutiny here? and Which themes appear to be the most popular among the poets?

Keywords: Bible; Christian; classical epic genre; Latin biblical versification; poetical corpus



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