In Late Antiquity, there was no 'Bible' and the level of literacy was low. Yet, 'biblical texts' were used and interpreted in multiple contexts. In this project, we ask, what texts were considered within the notion of 'biblical' and how did the ancients, then, relate to authoritative texts? How did these various ways of relating shape what they understood as biblical? Did these texts influence their readers' lives? We examine these questions with a focus on three interrelated phenomena – asceticism, martyrdom, and miracles. The project’s key concept of lived scriptures designates our aim to situate biblical reception in the everyday lives of people while taking seriously both the fluidity of the biblical texts and the diversity of the early Christian movement.
This project promotes the notion of reception in order to expand the historical reality that surrounds texts from their primary producers to their audiences, including various users who partake in the constructions of their meanings. The research is informed by culture and gender critical approaches, appreciating the corporeality of the past, as well as the framework of lived religion. Focusing on biblical texts as lived scriptures, it takes into account the situatedness of each textual act in a particular sociohistorical, cultural and geographical location.