In Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, few people knew how to read or write. The common person usually became familiar with texts by hearing them recited or by seeing them represented artistically in liturgical, theatrical and ritual performances.
Lectionaries – broadly understood as texts of different genres which inform the liturgical performance of one or more biblical passages – are the key link between the Bible and people, between intellectuals and the uneducated, between theory and praxis and, therefore, between the fields of literary and ritual studies.
As such, lectionaries are important not only for scholars of Eastern and Western liturgies, but also for exegetes of the Old and New Testaments as well as for historians researching Jewish – Christian relations. In short, they are essential for any scholar attempting to understand Christianity and Judaism as living religions both in the past and present.
This database is a deliberate attempt to bring to the fore the dimensions of liturgical performance and ritual in the study of early Christianity and Judaism, where texts continue to be perceived as falling primarily under the elitist domains of philology, dogma and literature.