A translation of the Estoire de l’Evangile by Brent A. Pitts
(Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral C6.1.1, Liber niger)
The Estoire de l’Evangile, which may date from the mid-thirteenth century, is the only gospel harmony extant in Anglo-Norman. Like the earliest Diatesserons which it echoes, the Estoire aims to merge (or harmonize) the four canonical gospels into a single account, in spite of the difficulties raised by discrepancies among them. The Estoire, an important and heretofore overlooked witness in the medieval gospel harmony tradition, is arguably the long-sought “Old French” exemplar of the well known Pepysian Gospel Harmony (c.1400). Today’s readers may not know the term “gospel harmony”; a modern example may be found in the narrative idea of so-called Jesus films, including Mel Gibson’s controversial The Passion of the Christ. The Estoire survives in a single manuscript, Dublin’s Liber niger.