The Bible is the most widely read book in the world. From the transcription of the Old Testament to Greek, to the collection of the Gospels, the Bible has always been in a state of literary and scholarly transition. In her classic work, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, Beryl Smalley describes the changes in the organization, technique, and purpose of Bible studies in northwestern Europe from the Carolingian renaissance to about 1300. This was the period when the emergence of Aristotelian thought inspired medieval scholars to take a fresh look at the Scriptures. The large number of medieval commentaries on the Bible confirms that they did so and that they expressed their reactions in writing.
Medieval historians and students of literature will find special value in this book: they will learn, in systematic fashion, what earlier scholars have accomplished in the field of exegesis; and they will be enabled to employ the history of biblical interpretation recounted here as a mirror for the social and cultural upheavals that were taking place simultaneously.