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The Verse Bible As Aide-Mémoire

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Chapter Summary

The usefulness of sermo metricus in the process of memorization is a well known medieval topos. In this chapter, the author concentrates on the genre of biblical versification with two specific questions in mind. First, what do the biblical poets want their readers to remember and second, upon what does the memorability of their poems depend. The chapter primarily explores the processes of memorization as practiced by biblical versifiers and establishes whether there is more at play than simply meter, brevity, and order. The poets chosen for the chapter include Lawrence of Durham, Alexander of Ashby, Peter Riga, and Leonius of Paris, whose compositions are representative for the genre of biblical versification in the later Middle Ages. Practical manifestation of mnemonic theory can be seen in the treatment of the destruction of Sodom.

Keywords: biblical versification; mnemonic theory; unwavering memory



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