Abstract and Keywords
The vernacular Bible was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation, and the spread of Bibles in English was facilitated by the development of printing. This article summarizes the history of the English Bible and describes, as far as can be determined given the available evidence, how it was read by sixteenth-century men and women. They read a variety of translations, as well as supplementary guides to reading, commentaries, printed sermons, and biblical paraphrases and adaptations. The Bible was also experienced in church services, where passages were read aloud, biblical verses incorporated into the liturgy, and sermons provided interpretations for the congregation. In fact, the Bible was read and heard in a variety of locations in daily life. Interpretations of the Bible were readily available in multiple formats; whether these ultimately curtailed or encouraged individual interpretation is a matter for debate and further study. Bible reading practices, as well as biblical language and ideas, deeply influenced English writers.
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