Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 2, No 2-3 (2006)

The Bible in British Folklore

Brian Malley
Issued Date: 14 Mar 2008


This article surveys magical and mantic uses of the Bible as attested in British folklore reports, with an eye to developing a model of the Biblicist tradition as that tradition was received by the British laity. The evidence shows that (1) in contrast to the church’s emphasis on the Bible’s meaning, the laity exploited the Bible’s textual and artifactual properties as supernatural means to practical ends; (2) charmers made use of particular biblical (or taken-for-biblical) texts, whereas the Bible generally was used in exorcisms, which seem to have remained the purview of clergy; (3) lay traditions about the Bible seem to have been focused on specific issues, though a general uncertainty about what powers Bibles might have is also indicated.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.v2i2.241

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