Women and wives: the language of marriage in early modern English biblical translations

Tadmor, Naomi (2006) Women and wives: the language of marriage in early modern English biblical translations. History Workshop Journal, 62 (1). pp. 1-27. ISSN 1477-4569

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Abstract

The article shows the ways in which a language of marriage became normative in early modern English translations of the Hebrew Bible. Focusing on successive biblical versions (especially from Tyndales translation based for the first time on the Hebrew original, published in 1530/1, to the Authorized Version published in 1611), it shows how Hebrew terms relating to a variety of domestic and sexual union were rendered in English biblical versions in a language pertaining to monogamous matrimony. This was further amplified in adjacent textual commentaries and notes. The use of a contemporary language of marriage in early modern biblical translations the article suggests was not unlike the ways in which early modern commentator perceived social relations in other remote cultures and filtered them through their own world view. Translators and readers were also relying on long-standing and strong traditions, which anchored Christian notions of matrimony in the ancient Hebrew text. However, the article suggests the early modern English biblical idiom of marriage should also be seen in the context of contemporary efforts on behalf of both religious and secular authorities to regulate the institution of marriage. Textual readings and social history are brought together to suggest links between histories of marriage, the church, print culture, and the English bible.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England
Depositing User: Naomi Tadmor
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:53
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 10:58
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28614
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