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How the Goodman Read His Bible
Journal of the Bible and its Reception
  • Bobbi Sutherland, University of Dayton
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Though best known for its “cookbook” portion, the Menagier de Paris contains a wide miscellany of information. Written by a man for his fifteen-year-old wife, it teaches her to be a good wife in every sense of the word. It includes a treatise on the seven deadly sins and stories of good and bad women, many of which are drawn from the Bible. Recent scholarship has shown that contrary to long-standing assumptions, the Bible was widely known and read by the laity of the Middle Ages, especially in France and the Low Countries. The Menagier provides further support for these observations, as well as a fleshed-out example of how one member of the bourgeoisie interacted with the biblical text. Using the biblical text and commentaries, the author clearly interprets the church's teachings so as to fit his own lay context. He is unafraid to add to the biblical text in order to bring his characters to life or strengthen his points. The author of the Menagier is only one person, but he demonstrates the degree of devotion to and familiarity with the Bible that was possible for laymen of the late Middle Ages.
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Society of Biblical Literature
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Citation Information
Bobbi Sutherland. "How the Goodman Read His Bible" Journal of the Bible and its Reception Vol. 2 Iss. 1 (2015)
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