LINGUIST List 29.1523

Mon Apr 09 2018

Books: The MS Digby 133 «Mary Magdalene»: Gotti (ed.), Maci

Editor for this issue: Michael Czerniakowski <>

Date: 26-Mar-2018
From: Christoph Suter <>
Subject: The MS Digby 133 «Mary Magdalene»: Gotti (ed.), Maci
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Title: The MS Digby 133 «Mary Magdalene»
Subtitle: Beyond scribal practices: language, discourse, values and attitudes
Series Title: Linguistic Insights
Published: 2017
Publisher: Peter Lang AG

Book URL:

Author: Stefania M. Maci
Editor: Maurizio Gotti
Hardback: ISBN: 9783034332569 Pages: 336 Price: Europe EURO 75
Hardback: ISBN: 9783034332569 Pages: 336 Price: U.K. £ 61
Hardback: ISBN: 9783034332569 Pages: 336 Price: U.S. $ 90.95

The MS 133 Digby Mary Magdalene has commonly been investigated by paying attention to literary features, while linguistic aspects have seldom been taken into consideration, with the result that any deviation from the norm has been classified as scribal inconsistency. However, what has been regarded as scribal carelessness actually seems to be a modern misunderstanding of scribal practices. Indeed, the significant combination of Southern, Midlands and Northern elements featuring in the language of Mary Magdalene is the result of the scribe’s desire to faithfully reproduce the author’s design, in which variants may have a marked social function. We can thus infer that the Mary Magdalene author probably created a sort of biblical koiné, shared with the audience, which was realized with the linguistic varieties offered by the existing late Middle English dialects and clearly exploited not only for poetic but also, and above all, for religious purposes. At the same time, the text puts an innovative emphasis on the figure of Mary Magdalene, who simultaneously plays the role of sinner and saint, virgin and prostitute, female and male. Thanks to the methodological approach of this volume, the author shows that most unusual forms are diatopic and diastratic alternatives used in specific religious contexts to realize well-defined sociolinguistic purposes.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Ling & Literature

Written In: English (eng)

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