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This Introduction provides an overview of the study as a whole. It argues for an understanding of scholastic biblical commentary in fourteenth-century England as a capacious and creative literary form, one which includes works in Latin and Middle English, and which opens biblical exegesis to more demotic devotional uses. In either language, commentators pick their way shrewdly, knowingly, imaginatively, and selectively among the various resources available to them, weighing the authoritative interpretations of earlier writers even as they seek to experiment with their own new ways of reading. The Introduction considers the relevance of this broadly appealing idea of commentary for our understanding of some of the most familiar works of Middle English religious literature, and it ends with a summary of the chapters that follow.
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