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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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Protestant readings of the Whore of Babylon in early modern England, c.1580–1625
Victoria Brownlee

Whore of Babylon. Dramatically entering John’s apocalyptic narrative on a seven-headed beast, she emerges as an outlandishly costumed seductress who elicits sex, intoxication and horror. John’s visually emotive description of the Whore’s person and threat in Revelation 17 positions her at the forefront of the Antichrist’s ranks. But for many reformed commentators, the chapter

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
Semiramis and Titania
Lisa Hopkins

’s The Scottish History of James the Fourth , moving through the anonymous Locrine and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream , and culminating in Thomas Dekker’s The Whore of Babylon , which associate Semiramis with fairy lore (although the Empress of Babylon in The Whore of Babylon is never named, I shall suggest that the strong association

in Goddesses and Queens
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Dympna Callaghan

most conspicuous and most sumptuously dressed woman in all England, next to Elizabeth I, was arguably the Whore of Babylon from the Book of Revelation. Bedecked in scarlet and jewels and sitting aloft the many-headed beast, she cut an indelibly impressive figure across the early modern imagination. Victoria Brownlee’s essay, ‘Imagining the enemy: Protestant readings of the Whore of

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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Discovering biblical women in early modern literary culture, 1550–1700
Victoria Brownlee and Laura Gallagher

to, Eve, Susanna, Bathsheba, Salome and the Whore of Babylon. 9 Many of these biblical plays, much like medieval mystery cycles, sought to familiarise audiences with scriptural narra tives and were used for didactic purposes. Yet, Scripture’s female figures could also be excavated from the broader biblical narratives they inhabit and redeployed to tell alternative stories. The Whore of Babylon is a case in point. She

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
Susan D. Amussen

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) , ch. 3, esp. pp. 66–9 and 76–7; for the scaffold performance, see Katherine Royer, The English Execution Narrative, 1200–1700 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014) , esp. pp. 83–4 and 90. 35 Tuke, Discourse against Painting , sigs A3 and B3, and pp. 21, 42–9, 52–3, 57, and 60. The gendered attack on popery was commonplace: According to Dolan, gender is ‘the most fully developed and consistently, if unevenly deployed system’ for marking Catholic difference: Whores of Babylon , p. 6. 36 Van Heertum, Swetnam , p. 76

in Revolutionising politics
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Macbeth and the Jesuits
Richard Wilson

witchcraft’; 39 but there is a more acute context for this enigma, and this is made explicit in the contemporary witch play by Dekker, The Whore of Babylon , where it is Campeius – or Campion – and his Jesuits who are ordered to ‘unsex’ themselves (I, vi, 39) to slip undetected into England: ‘Have change of hairs, of eye-brows … Be shaven and be old women, take all shapes / To escape taking’. 40 As often with this writer, Dekker’s text reads like an X-ray of Shakespeare’s intentions, and with Marston’s Sophonisba and Barnabe Barnes’s The Devil’s Charter , also dating

in The Lancashire witches
Confessional conflict and the origins of English Protestantism in Samuel Rowley’s When You See Me You Know Me (1605)
Brian Walsh

reign of Queen Elizabeth), as well as When You See Me You Know Me, a play that featured King Henry VIII, Prince Edward, and other key early Reformation figures.5 And this is not to mention Sir John Oldcastle, Sir Thomas More, The Whore of Babylon, or Henry VIII, which are each relevant to this trend, although outliers for various reasons.6 There is considerable overlap among these plays, but each possesses its own complexity and nuance regarding formative moments in the development of the Reformation. To see any of them as only Protestant propaganda, despite their

in Forms of faith
Gender and conversion in the early modern Mediterranean
Eric Dursteler

–7. 31 Patricia Crawford, Women and religion in England: 1500–1750 (London: Routledge, 1993 ), pp. 60–2; Frances Dolan, Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, gender, and seventeenth-century print culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999 ), p. 136

in Conversions
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Reading Old Testament women in early modern England, 1550–1700
Victoria Brownlee and Laura Gallagher

). Although Jezebel, who in 2 Kings 9:30 ‘peinted her face, and tired her head’, is similarly vilified for a love of outward embellishment, readings of her ornamentation frequently have a more politicised edge. For many writers, her painted face connected her to the infamously painted Whore of Babylon and, consequently, to Rome. 20 Henry Ainsworth makes these connections clear

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700