The Early Modern Bible (seminar)

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a fall weekend seminar held from September 20 to September 21, 2002.

The Church was born with a Bible in its hand. But at least three historical forces converged and interacted to make the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth Christian centuries a decisive period in the history of the relation of the Bible to both Church and culture. This concentrated weekend seminar gathered up-to-sixteen participants to examine the convergence of the invention of printing, the "sacred philology" of the Renaissance in both Italy and northern Europe, and the Protestant Reformation with its motto of Sola Scriptura. The weekend was organized around the broad themes of The Reformation of the Bible / The Bible of the Reformation by Jaroslav Pelikan, with Valerie R. Hotchkiss and David Price (1996). The volume constituted advance reading for the seminar, and its four themes of "Sacred Philology," "Exegesis and Hermeneutics," "Bibles for the People," and "The Bible and the Arts" framed the weekend's wide-ranging discussion. Each theme conveys its own prerequisites: "Sacred Philology" presupposes a knowledge of Greek and/or Hebrew (as well as Latin); "Exegesis and Hermeneutics" some prior study of both theory and practice in the interpretation of sacred text; "Bibles for the People" a mastery of one or more of the European vernaculars (including, of course, English) into which Scripture was translated; and "The Bible and the Arts" a scholarly grasp of literature, music, or the plastic arts in this period. Applicants described their own research project and specify the theme with which they identify it. Selection of the participants were based partly on coverage.

Director: Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, and in 2001–2002 was a John W. Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress. Of his various books, the five-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (1971–1989), especially Volume 4, Reformation of Church and Dogma (1984) provides the context of the seminar.