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Sacred FollyA New History of the Feast of Fools$
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Max Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001

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The Plays of Daniel and Joseph

The Plays of Daniel and Joseph

(p.113) Chapter 10 The Plays of Daniel and Joseph
Sacred Folly

Max Harris

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines two plays that were performed as part of the Feast of Fools liturgy: the Play of Daniel in Beauvais and the Office of Joseph in Laon. The Play of Daniel, now the best known and most frequently revived of medieval liturgical plays, is preserved in the same manuscript as the Beauvais office of the Circumcision. With its references to “the solemn feast of the Nativity” and its closing angelic announcement of the birth of Christ, the Play of Daniel was clearly intended for performance during the Christmas season. Like the Play of Daniel, the Office of Joseph mixed “the sacred and the secular, the serious and the comic,” accommodating and taming the traditional license of popular New Year festivities within an approved liturgical setting. This chapter considers how the Play of Daniel and the Office of Joseph display the Feast of Fools at its most creative.

Keywords:   liturgy, Feast of Fools, Play of Daniel, Beauvais, Office of Joseph, Laon, liturgical plays, Christmas, New Year, festivities

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