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The Role of Images in the Vernacularization of Scripture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1072-9538
2015 (English)In: Myth, Language, and Literature: From Iceland to Constantinople, Litteraturhuset, Oslo 16-17 October 2015, 2015Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A large number of vernacular translations of Scripture stemming from all over Europe are found in manuscripts containing an especially high number of illuminations. In this paper I would like to consider the role played by images in the specific context of vernacular translations of biblical texts. I shall argue that both vernacular translations and images are part of a more general shift of focus from abstract and metaphorical meaning toward concrete and historical events in Scripture.

The vernacular Bible made Biblical texts – in particular the historical portions of the Old Testament – accessible to a wider audience. In this context, and in relation to the topic of the conference, images served as a visual equivalent to myth, in that they gave concrete sensory access to the main motifs transmitted in the more abstract, linguistic medium of the text itself. Also like myth, they clarified which aspects of Scripture were of primary importance within the vernacular setting, and just as the vernacular was not considered a worthy medium of allegorical interpretation, so images by nature were best suited to convey a literal meaning. In this regard, the vernacular and images were apt to mutually reinforce each other in the presentation of the literal meaning of Scripture. 

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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134324OAI: diva2:1019168
Myth, Language, and Literature: From Iceland to Constantinople
Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04 Last updated: 2016-10-04

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Oen, Maria H.
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