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dc.contributor.advisorTribble, Lyn
dc.contributor.advisorHale, John
dc.contributor.authorCop, Michael Andrew
dc.identifier.citationCop, M. A. (2011). Thinking across the Bible: Consonance and Dissonance in Early Modern English Biblical Verse (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractEarly modern English biblical verse at times seems clumsy or repetitious. This thesis argues that some of this poetic and narrative dissonance originates in the biblical events that poets and versifiers turned into verse. The Bible often reports events differently across its books. Such differing narrative strands are often dissonant: they do not report one unified, harmonious story. Early modern readers habitually thought across differing biblical narrative strands because biblical commentary, gospel harmonies, and the margins of the Bible itself encouraged their readers to do so; those same readers also believed that the differing narrative strands tell a harmonious story because they believed that the words of the Bible are consistent. Modern readers often do not share that same habit or belief. If we are to have informed readings of early modern biblical verse, we need to recapture the habit of thinking across the Bible and the belief that beneath the apparent biblical dissonance was an underlying consonance. My research indicates that when the Bible has conflicting details for an event, poets and versifiers sometimes include that conflict in their verse and thereby inherit biblical dissonance. The introduction exhibits the habit of thinking across the Bible in prose through the examples of biblical marginalia and commentaries as well as through the fullest textual representation of this habit, gospel harmonies. The subsequent chapters examine biblical verse, each exploring a story for which the relationship between biblical narrative strands becomes increasingly complex. Chapter 1 establishes what it means to versify the Bible by taking some metrical psalms and then versions of the Samson story as examples of poets and versifiers working on parts of the Bible for which there is only a single narrative strand but which still contain inconsistencies. Chapter 2 addresses versions of the Creation, a story for which there are two differing biblical narrative strands. The chapter classifies four methods of engaging biblical difference in verse through the examples of William Hunnis’s A Hyve Fvll of Hunnye, Joshua Sylvester’s translation of Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas’s The Divine Weeks, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and John Dryden’s The State of Innocence. Chapter 3 looks at the temptations of Jesus, a story for which there are three differing biblical narrative strands; it demonstrates specific rhetorical strategies for including biblical differences in verse through the examples of John Bale’s, Giles Fletcher’s, Henry Vaughan’s, John Milton’s, and Samuel Wesley’s versions of the temptation story. Chapter 4 explores the story of the anointing of Jesus, a story for which the relationship amongst the four differing narrative strands is ambiguous, and demonstrates that the more complex the relationship is amongst differing strands, the less likely versions are to incorporate the all of the differences from amongst those strands. The thesis concludes with a new reading of George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice,” a poem whose conclusion only reaches full potency when its readers think across the four differing narrative strands for the Passion.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectEarly Modern English Verse
dc.subjectThe Bible
dc.subjectJohn Milton
dc.subjectJohn Dryden
dc.subjectDu Bartas
dc.subjectGeorge Herbert
dc.subjectHenry Vaughan
dc.subjectGospel Harmonies
dc.subjectMetrical Psalms
dc.subjectFrancis Quarles
dc.subjectThe Temptations
dc.subjectMary Magdalene
dc.subjectJohan Hiud
dc.subjectHenry Garthwait
dc.subjectJohn Bale
dc.subjectZachary Boyd
dc.subjectGiles Fletcher
dc.subjectSamuel Wesley
dc.subjectParadise Lost
dc.subjectParadise Regained
dc.subjectSamson Agonistes
dc.subjectThe Anointing
dc.subjectWilliam Hunnis
dc.subjectThe Sacrifice
dc.subjectJohn Bunyan
dc.subjectThe Divine Weeks
dc.subjectSynoptic Gospels
dc.subjectGerard De Gols
dc.subjectLewis Wager
dc.subjectElisha Coles
dc.subjectGervase Markham
dc.subjectGeorge Sandys
dc.subjectGeorge Wither
dc.subjectThomas Sternhold
dc.subjectEnglish Renaissance
dc.titleThinking across the Bible: Consonance and Dissonance in Early Modern English Biblical Verse
dc.typeThesis of Philosophy of Otago Theses
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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