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The Marys of Medieval Drama (Paperback)

The Middle English Digby and N-town in Translation

P&S History > Medieval World > Anglo-Saxon & Medieval Britain P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval Language & Literature

Imprint: Sidestone Press
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 6 full colour
ISBN: 9789088903670
Published: 30th April 2016
Casemate UK Academic

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Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary continue to intrigue and fascinate us to this day. Their appearances in the Bible are brief, piquing our curiosity and compelling speculation about the unknown years of their lives. This volume contains modern translations of plays performed during the late Middle Ages in England about the lives of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. These plays provide a link between canonical Scripture, apocryphal and gnostic materials from the first centuries of Christianity that survived secreted or in oral tradition, legendary materials that developed over the ensuing centuries, and contemporary medieval religious belief and practices.

 

Materials from the N-Town Mary and other plays contain episodes about the childhood of the Virgin, her betrothal and marriage to Joseph, and her time after the death of Christ. The Digby Mary Magdalene begins with an account of the death of Mary Magdalene’s father, her subsequent fall into promiscuity, her redemption, her journey to convert Marseille and thus christianize France, her later years as a hermit and her death. These plays illustrate one way in which Biblical materials were available to lay people before the printing of the Bible. Reading these plays of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene from the late Middle Ages increases our understanding of the history of the Marian and Magdalene traditions practiced in earlier centuries, as well as our understanding of what these women have come to represent today, shedding light on how their images have shaped the roles for women in the Church.

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