Conference on the Bible in Medieval and Early Modern Drama 

2017

In this conference, we bring together international scholars working on the Bible in late Medieval and Early Modern Drama, with the objective of fostering our understanding of the crucial role the Bible played in the wake of the Reformation across Europe.  This conference forms a part of the growing contemporary interest in the encompassing field of Literature and Religion in the early modern period.  For in the trajectory of the Protestant movement gaining momentum, and Catholicism being forced into a position of justification and defense, key concepts of the Christian faith were put to the test and subsequently re-defined.  At the same time, the Jewish roots of Christianity were revisited and reinterpreted in light of the debates. 

            Concurrently, there is an ongoing effort to highlight the complex interaction of sixteenth and seventeenth-century English plays within their religious contexts.  What makes drama of particular importance is the performative dimension of this genre.  Placed on stage, biblical themes and stories can both exert an influence quite different from that of written forms of intellectual and theological debate, as well as commenting on these debates from a perspective that literally gives voice to positions and opinions.

We therefore consider drama and its engagement with the Bible as it reflects—responds to, negotiates, encapsulates, transfers—the wider developments in later medieval and early modern Europe.  We are dealing with a period of rupture and change; yet there are also remarkable consistencies and correspondences.  A central goal of the proposed conference is to illuminate these divergent—as well as complementary and comparable trends.

Dr. Eva von Contzen                                                              Prof. Chanita Goodblatt

Conference Programme 

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