»Et en sainte escriture ice lisant trovon«: Readers and Reading Practices of the ›Bible‹ in Romance (c.1150) by Herman de Valenciennes


  • Margriet Hoogvliet




Modern researchers are often puzzled that Herman de Valenciennes used twelve-foot verse for his translation of the Bible into the Romance vernacular dating from c.1150, instead of prose, because they perceive an opposition between the sacred text and the chosen form, that of profane epic narrative. This article will argue that verse narrative was regularly used for hagiographic texts, as well as for adaptations of the Bible, both in the Romance vernacular and in Latin. Furthermore, a close reading of Herman’s ›Bible‹ will show that the translator intended to guide his readers towards a correct interpretation of the biblical text and that he anticipated specific reading practices: discontinuous and following the annual cycle of the liturgy and Divine Office, communal and performative, probably including para-liturgical practices by singing voice.