Discovering the Riches of the Word

Religious Reading in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe


The contributions to Discovering the Riches of the Word. Religious Reading in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe offer an innovative approach to the study of religious reading from a long term and geographically broad perspective, covering the period from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century and with a specific focus on the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.
Challenging traditional research paradigms, the contributions argue that religious reading in this “long fifteenth century” should be described in terms of continuity. They make clear that in spite of confessional divides, numerous reading practices continued to exist among medieval and early modern readers, as well as among Catholics and Protestants, and that the two groups in certain cases even shared the same religious texts.

Contributors include: Elise Boillet, Sabrina Corbellini, Suzan Folkerts, Éléonore Fournié, Wim François, Margriet Hoogvliet, Ian Johnson, Hubert Meeus, Matti Peikola, Bart Ramakers, Elisabeth Salter, Lucy Wooding, and Federico Zuliani.
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Biographical Note

Sabrina Corbellini is Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen (department of Medieval History). Her current research is concerned with the reconstruction of the readership of religious texts in late medieval Europe. From 2008 to 2013, she was Principal Investigator of the ERC-Starting Grant project “Holy Writ and Lay Readers”.

Margriet Hoogvliet is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Groningen. Her current research is concerned with readers of biblical and religious texts in French during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. She has also published extensively on text-image relations, political communication in the period of Catherine de Médicis, and the history of cartography ( Pictura et scriptura: textes, images et herméneutique des mappae mundi (XIIIe–XVIe s.), Turnhout: 2007).

Bart Ramakers is Professor of Historical Dutch Literature at the University of Groningen. He specialises in medieval and sixteenth-century drama and has a particular interest in the intersections between performative and visual culture. He is an editor of the Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art (NKJ).

Table of contents

Sabrina Corbellini, Margriet Hoogvliet and Bart Ramakers, Discovering the Riches of the Word. Introduction

Suzan Folkerts, Approaching Lay Readership of Middle Dutch Bibles. On the Uses of Archival Sources and Bible Manuscripts

Matti Peikola, Manuscript Paratexts in the Making. British Library MS Harley 6333 as Liturgical Compilation

Sabrina Corbellini, Uncovering the Presence. Religious Literacies in Late Medieval Italy

Elisabeth Salter: Evidence for Religious Reading Practice and Experience in Times of Change. Some Models Provided by Late Medieval Texts of Ten Commandments

Margriet Hoogvliet, ‘Car Dieu vault ester serui de tous estaz’. Encouraging and Instructing Laypeople in French from the Late Middle Ages to the Early Sixteenth Century

Bart Ramakers, Books, Beads and Bitterness. Making Sense of Gifts in Two Table Plays by Cornelis Everaert

Éléonore Fournié, Some Aspects of Male and Female Readers of the Printed Bible Historiale in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Ian Johnson, From Nicholas Love’s Mirror to John Heigham’s Life. Paratextual Displacements and Displaced Readers

Elise Boillet, Vernacular Biblical Literature in Sixteenth-Century Italy. Universal Reading and Specific Readers

Wim François, The Catholic Church and the Vernacular Bible in the Low Countries. A Paradigm Shift in the 1550s?

Lucy Wooding, Reading the Crucifixion in Tudor England

Federico Zuliani, The Other Nicodemus. Nicodemus in Italian Religious Writings previous and contemporary to Calvin’s Excuse à Messieurs les Nicodémites (1544)

Hubert Meeus, “What’s learnt in the Cradle Lasts till the Tomb”. Counter-Reformation Strategies in the Southern Low Countries to Entice the Youth into Religious Reading



Scholars of Medieval, Early Modern, Religious and Book history, in particular those interested in cultural and social transformations in a long term perspective