Bibles were among the most circulated books in medieval and early modern England, the most studied and most read, and as such they provide a profoundly valuable archive for the history of reading. Because the biblical text underwent intense and often contentious hermeneutic scrutiny during the period, a material history of reading intersects with a less material history of interpretation. Evidence from early bibles and their users of all sorts—known biblical scholars, literary figures, or anonymous readers—sheds light on how readers confronted the changing problems of interpretation, translation, and textual format, and how they reworked these in literary and cultural production. Working with Latin and vernacular translations, contributors to this volume rethink the cultural role of the Bible using a wide range of material evidence, including manuscript notes, defacement, graffiti, printed annotations and paratextual devices, forms of textual circulation, and the nature of literary allusion and cultural reuse.

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