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Document Details :

Title: A Shallow Reading of the Limburg Sermons
Author(s): KESTEMONT, Mike
Journal: Ons Geestelijk Erf
Volume: 85    Issue: 3   Date: 2014   
Pages: 145-162
DOI: 10.2143/OGE.85.3.3062090

Abstract :
The Limburg Sermons are a collection of religious writings surviving in the well-known codex The Hague, KB, 70 E 5, which was probably copied in the east of the Middle Dutch language area around 1270-1300 AD. The text collection as a whole stands out as an exceptionally early witness in the tradition of vernacular religious literature from the Low Countries. Scholars have demonstrated that this text collection displays a tripartite structure, covering a series of (a) translated St. Georgen sermons, (b) a cluster of passion sermons and (c) a number of mystically oriented, often originally Middle Dutch treatises. In this short article I will present a quantitative analysis of this text collection using a methodology from computational text analysis (stylometry). This type of textual analysis has recently been termed ‘Distant Reading’ or ‘Non-reading’, because it does not depend on the actual (close) reading of texts. I will demonstrate how such a shallow analysis is nevertheless able to reproduce interesting aspects of the recent scholarship on the Limburg Sermons in a fast and unbiased fashion. Finally, our computational results shed more light on the remarkable position of the 47th sermon in the collection, which was inserted near the end.

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