Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Medieval Drama: Staging the English Bible

December 2022 Confirmed

Precepted by Liam Daley.
Late medieval English drama brought episodes from The Bible to life in days-long festivals of pomp and pageantry—but what these plays really show us is the day-to-day lives of ordinary men and women of the fifteenth century. With a mixture of lavish spectacle, slapstick comedy, and intimate poignancy, these plays populate the biblical world with familiar figures of the medieval city-life: shrewd workmen and cunning criminals; disgruntled wives and worried husbands; the friends, family, and neighbors of plays’ writers and performers.

This course looks at a sampling of plays from the great civic drama cycles of York, Chester, Coventry, and elsewhere, including Noah’s Flood, The Second Shepherd’s Play, Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents, The Crucifixion, The Harrowing of Hell, and The Last Judgement. The works presented here offer both a grand history of the world from Creation to Doomsday, and locally-rooted, vernacular versions of a text then otherwise available only in Latin. Knowledge of Middle English is not required since this course will use the modern-spelling edition by Prof. A. C. Cawley. Scholarly online Middle English versions, however, will also be made available for students wishing to practice their skills in that area.

Required Texts

Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays, ed. A. C. Cawley (Everyman Library edition)

See the overall page for the Medieval Drama: Staging the English Bible module.

See other modules (potentially) offerred in December 2022.

See other modules in the General Humanities sector.

Days and Times

Meeting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays @5:00 PM for eight 1-hour sessions (Eastern Time), with classes scheduled for December 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, and 21.

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If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].