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Title: Reforming figures : biblical interpretation and literature in early modern England
Author: Brownlee, Victoria Margaret Roberta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 3552
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis considers how Protestants read the Bible, understood the Old and New Testaments, and how this impacted upon early modern literary production. In particular, it explores the way in which individual biblical figures and particular biblical texts became enmeshed with specific political and cultural concerns and enveloped into the period's writings. As part of this, it probes the uneasy relationship between the reformed commitment to a literalist hermeneutic and the reality of their interpretative methodologies. Considering the use of exegetical practices, including typology, the thesis contends that reformed 'literalism' is more capacious, and indeed figural, than it claims to be. Structured around individual biblical books and figures, the thesis presses these considerations across a variety of early modern writers and genres. Chapters one and two look at the biblical figures of Solomon and Job, exploring how they are read in relation to ideas of kingship and suffering and symbolically represented in image, print and on stage. The third chapter considers how the reformers' alternative 'literal' reading of the Song of Songs both shapes and destabilises the contemporary poetry that engages with this biblical text. The final two chapters shift discussion to the New Testament. The penultimate chapter explores how a typological understanding ofMary facilitates re-readings of motherhood in writing by women. Discussion concludes with a consideration of the end-point of typological history, apocalypse, tracing how the idea of revelation is contested on the early modern stage. Demonstrating how Protestant interpretative practices both contribute to, and problematise, literary constructions of a range of contemporary debates, this thesis offers a reassessment of the interaction between early modern literature and the Bible.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available