Date d'ajout : mardi 22 août 2017
par Jerry H. BENTLEY
THE CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW, janvier 1991
The French series "Bible de Tous les Temps" envisions eight volumes dealing with chronological periods from ancient Greece to the contemporary age. The work under review -the fifth volume of the series- focuses on the period 1450 to 1600. The editors quite rightly emphasize printing, humanist scholarship, and religious reform movements as forces that lent coherence to this period and that influenced the cultural role played by the Bible during its term. Printing made the Bible widely and cheaply available ; humanist scholarship deepened its understanding and suggested contemporary moral applications ; reform movements relied on its authority to raise radical doubts about the limitations of established dogma. By the end of the sixteenth century, a plethora of editions, translations, and commentaries served as evidence of widespread interest in the Bible.
The volume under review offers twenty-three essays by specialists in biblical and literary studies. The editors themselves prepared most of the fourteen essays in the first part of the volume, which deals with textual scholarship, biblical translation, exegesis, and uses of the Bible made by various confessional groups. The second part presents a series of essays on biblical influence on the broader culture and society of the Western world : individual chapters, for example, discuss the Bible and its connections with science, politics, literature, theater, liturgy, art, mysticism, and pastoral care. The emphasis falls on Christian western Europe, though one chapter examines the role of the Bible in the world of the Orthodox Church, and another deals with Jewish exegesis.
Like other volumes already published in the same series, this one offers an excellent compendium of knowledge on the Bible and its cultural influence. The essays reflect the very most recent scholarship, and they provide an enormous amount of information for general readers. Generally speaking, the essays in this volume present much more basic information and detail than their counterparts in the three-volume Cambridge History of the Bible, but they engage in less analysis and interpretation than those in the Canlbridge series. It would have been desirable to provide some account of the Bible and its influence in Asia and the Americas during this age when Christianity first became a genuine world religion (especially in a collection entitled "Bible de Tous les Temps"). Nevertheless, both scholars and general readers will find this volume useful as an erudite compendium of information on the Bible and its influence during the early modern era.