Article

Biblical Thematics: The Story of Samson in Medieval Literary Discourse

Greti Dinkova-Bruun

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394016
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195394016.013.0017

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Biblical Thematics: The Story of Samson in Medieval Literary Discourse

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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This article discusses the biblical story of the Old Testament hero Samson in order to exemplify the various modes of biblical discourse in medieval Latinate culture. Whether in prose or verse, the medieval writers dedicated their efforts to finding the meaning of creation and to establishing how the human relates to the divine. A few representative works illustrate the multifaceted role that the Bible played in the medieval literary imagination. The various modes of expression discussed show unequivocally that understanding and explaining the message of the sacred page was the defining feature of the literary discourse. The variety of approaches to the Scripture exhibited by the writers demonstrates that their relationship to the truth and mystery of the Bible was not dogmatic and uniform; rather, it was an impetus for intellectual curiosity and an inspiration for literary creativity. The text of the Bible opened many doors of understanding and showed a multitude of paths to enlightenment. Sacred Scripture, albeit inerrant, did not imply one meaning for the thinkers. They did not approach the text of the Bible mechanically. Sacred Scripture was their point of departure but also their font of inspiration.

Keywords: Bible; Samson; Old Testament; medieval Latinate culture; literary discourse

Article.  10046 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Reception ; Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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