Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700

Victoria Brownlee
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Laura Gallagher
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This book considers how biblical women were read, appropriated and debated in a wide range of early modern texts. It traverses a range of genres and examines literature written by a variety of confessionally diverse writers. By considering literature intended for assorted audiences, the book showcases the diverse contexts in which the Bible's women were deployed, and illuminates the transferability of biblical appreciation across apparent religious divisions. The book has been split into two sections. Part One considers women and feminine archetypes of the Old Testament, and the chapters gathered in Part Two address the New Testament. This structure reflects the division of Scripture in early modern Bibles and speaks to the contemporary method of reading the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In spite of this division, the chapters regularly make cross references between the two Testaments highlighting how, in line with the conventions of early modern exegesis, they were understood to exist in a reciprocal relationship. Within each section, the chapters are broadly organised according to the sequential appearance of the women/feminine archetypes in the Bible. The biblical women studied extend from Eve in Genesis to the Whore of Babylon in Revelation. The chapters vary between those that examine dominant trends in appropriation to those that consider appropriations of a particular interest group or individual.

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‘This ambitious and scholarly collection of essays addresses the complex, often contradictory, and sometimes strikingly counterintuitive ways that biblical women characters were analysed, interpreted, and appropriated in early modern discourses.'
Anne Russell, Wilfrid Laurier University
Renaissance and Reformation 39.
Spring 2016

‘It contains fourteen chapters which together constitute an impressive wealth of expertise on the topic of the Bible and its reception in early modern English society....A broad yet focused collection, containing enough material to offer something new to all readers, Biblical Women in Early Modern Literary Culture 1550-1700 should certainly live up to its editors' hope for it.'
Robert F. W. Smith
The Journal of Northern Renaissance
July 2016

‘This is a splendid collection of essays and an important contribution to both feminist historiography of the Renaissance and the place of the Bible in the intellectual culture of the era. It should find a ready readership across a number of interlocking interests - literary, feminist, historical, theological, and political theory.'
Kevin Killeen, University of York
Renaissance Quarterly Volume LXIX, No. 2
July 2016

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