Apocryphal Adam and Eve in Medieval Europe: Vernacular Translations and Adaptations of the Vita Adae et Evae

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What happened to Adam and Eve after their expulsion from paradise?
Where the biblical narrative fell silent apocryphal writings took up this intriguing question, notably including the Early Christian Latin text, the Life of Adam and Eve. This account describes the (failed) attempt of the couple to return to paradise by fasting whilst immersed in a river, and explores how they coped with new experiences such as childbirth and death.
Brian Murdoch guides the reader through the many variant versions of the Life, demonstrating how it was also adapted into most western and some eastern European languages in the Middle Ages and beyond, constantly developing and changing along the way. The study considers this development of the apocryphal texts whilst presenting a fascinating insight into the flourishing medieval tradition of Adam and Eve. A tradition that the Reformation would largely curtail, stories from the Life were celebrated in European prose, verse and drama in many different languages from Irish to Russian.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199564149
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2009
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Murdoch is Professor Emeritus of German in the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions at the University of Stirling. He taught in Glasgow University and at the University of Illinois in Chicago before coming to Stirling in 1972. He has been Hulsean Lecturer in Divinity at Cambridge and Speaker's Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Oxford, and gave the Waynflete Lectures at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has held Visiting Fellowships at Magdalen and Oriel in Oxford and Trinity Hall in Cambridge. He has published books, editions and articles on the Adam-literature as found in Latin, German, English, Irish, Breton and Cornish, as well as other studies of biblical material, especially on the popular Bible in European vernaculars. He has also written books on Old High German, on Cornish literature, on the Germanic heroic epic, and on modern literature concerned with the world wars.

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Table of Contents

Conventions of Reference xii

Abbreviations xiii

1 Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, the Adambooks, and the Vita Adae et Evae 1

2 Ireland 42

3 England, Wales, and Cornwall 74

4 The Holy Roman Empire and Beyond 137

5 France, Brittany, and Italy 208

6 Iconography 239

7 Litteras Achiliachas: Conclusion 252

Appendix: An Overview of the Vernacular Texts 263

Bibliography 267

Index 287

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