Visualizing narrative structure in the medieval university: Divisio textus revisited

Ayelet Even-Ezra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The early thirteenth century saw the rise of a new exegetical technique: divisio textus, or text division. Commentators engaged in subtle structural analyses, parsing texts into increasingly smaller units, and at times represented these structures as complex tree diagrams. For a case studyofthis technique, this essaypresents a previously unnoticed series of such marginal diagrams in MS Assisi, Bib. Com. 51 that depict the structure of the first three chapters of the Book of Job. Following the manner in which the author analyzes the narrative functions of character description, dialogues, and other aspects, the essay reconstructs the narratological principles embedded in these diagrams, and compares them with other divisions of Job by thirteenth century theologians. It sets the diagramming ofdivisiones textus in its the broader context of medieval horizontal tree diagrams and discusses the peculiar implications of the spatialization ofbiblical narrative. Appendices include full transcriptions, translations and auxiliary materials for comparison.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)341-376
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Fordham University 2017.


  • Commentary
  • Diagrams
  • Divisio textus
  • Job (book of)
  • Narrative
  • Narratology


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