A hybrid life of john the baptist: The middle english text of ms harley 2250

Richard Newhauser, William E. Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


British Library MS Harley 2250 (last quarter of the 15th century, from Cheshire) contains a life of John the Baptist that has long been considered a witness of the South English Legendary (SEL) version of the Baptist's vita. In fact, however, the text combines material from a number of sources to create a unique saint's life that relates the full range of events in scriptural accounts of John's nativity and beheading. This hybrid life gives evidence of a desire in the late Middle Ages to supplement the narrative possibilities offered by the SEL. The text is edited here for the first time in its history, with commentary drawing on most of the known analogues. It has also been collated with those passages in all witnesses of the SEL life of the Baptist that overlap with the Harley life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-239
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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