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 the French of England. 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.