Department of Religious Studies

Medieval Bibles: Studies in Word and Image Symposium

Tue, February 26, 2008

No single text more defined medieval Europe than the Bible, but the medieval Bible was not a single, uniform object. We speak instead of medieval Bibles, acknowledging great variation in the wording and physical presentation of scripture. And we appreciate the equally great variation in medieval understanding of scripture as expressed in word and image.

The three speakers participating in the symposium "Medieval Bibles: Studies in Word and Image" are at the forefront of current re-evaluations of presentations and representations of the Bible in medieval Christian Europe.

WHERE AND WHEN: The Symposium will be held at the Prothro Theatre (HRC) on the University of Texas at Austin campus on Tuesday 4 March, from 4-7pm. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

SPEAKERS’ PAPERS: In “Bede and Fundamentalism,” historian Celia Chazelle (College of New Jersey) draws especially on Bede’s eighth-century chronologies of sacred time and commentaries on scripture, including the creation story, to argue that his exegetical readings were in part motivated by a desire to answer Biblical fundamentalists in his own day, with ironic and unexpected consequences.

In “When Two Become One: Merging the Creation Stories in Medieval Italian Art,” art historian Lila Yawn (Cornell University in Rome; American University in Rome; John Cabot University in Rome) focuses on illustrations of creation in the Giant Bibles produced in northern Italy during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, to show how the pictures served as rhetorical devices for Gregorian Reform.

In “Word and Image in the Bibles moralisées in Thirteenth-Century Paris,” historian of science Katherine Tachau (University of Iowa) examines the richly illustrated paraphrases known as “moralized Bibles,” which produced by conservative groups to combat the “vain curiosity” encouraged by the new “pagan” learning.

COMMENTATORS: Prof. Dan Birkholz (English); Dr. Sidney Tibbetts (HRC), and Prof. Joan Holladay (Art History)

SPONSORS: Presented by the Department of History, in conjunction with the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins, by Art and Art History, by the Departments of Religious Studies, English, and French and Italian, and by Medieval Studies.

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