directed to the laity. Although Tacitean and other
more skeptical modes of history were in competition with popular providentialism in Renaissance England,8 in pulpit discourse, God was usually
understood to be responsible for all events, those of secular as well as
biblical history.9 Oneself and one’s contemporaries no less than biblical
figures were characters in God’s story.
The traditional Christian approach to biblical exegesis was already well
established when Nicholas of Lyra applied the label “four-fold method”
to the range of readings (the four are the literal