Sweetman, Robert. "Beryl Smalley, Thomas of Cantimpré, and the Performative Reading of Scripture: a Study in Two Exempla." In With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, pp. 256-275. Eds. Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
This study uses a number of preaching stories included within Thomas of Cantimpré’s “Book of Bees” to examine Beryl Smalley’s account of the evolution of scholarly approaches to the Scriptures in the context of the rise of the universities in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It expands historical understanding of the literal sense of scriptures to account for a performative mode of literal reading in which one’s subsequent living exegetes the scripture that one is or has been studying. The life of St. Francis of Assisi provides an exemplary case in point.