By Jeanne Shami
This booklet considers the pro contribution of John Donne to an rising homiletic public sphere within the final years of the Jacobean English Church (1621-25), arguing that his sermons include the conflicts, tensions, and pressures on public spiritual discourse during this interval; whereas they're under no circumstances "typical" of any specific preaching time table or kind, they articulate those crises of their most complicated kinds and divulge fault traces within the overdue Jacobean Church. The research is framed via Donne's so much pointed contributions to the general public sphere: his sermon protecting James I's instructions to Preachers and his first sermon preached ahead of Charles I in 1625. those sermons emerge from the crises of controversy, censorship, and id that converged within the past due Jacobean interval, and mark Donne's clearest specialist interventions within the public debate concerning the nature and path of the Church of britain. In them, Donne interrogates the bounds of the general public sphere and of his conformity to the associations, professionals, and traditions governing public debate in that sphere, modelling for his viewers an actively engaged conformist identification.
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Extra info for John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit (Studies in Renaissance Literature)
Donne’s chief variation is to substitute the term “separatist” for James’s “puritan,” to describe only nonconforming divines at one end of the spectrum, and to place “papists” at the other end. The following locution is typical: “The Papist hath not the knowledge of his Doctrine from any Scripture, the Separatist hath not the knowledge of his Discipline from any precedent, any example in the primitive Church” (IV, 148). Breaking down binary oppositions is not an invention of the post-modern age; it is Donne’s constant rhetorical and intellectual strategy.
Third, Donne’s sermons model principles of discourse most likely to achieve all of these ends. Those who have discussed Donne as a moderate and a conformist, however, are themselves divided as to the nature of his conformity. Building on work by Sellin, Doerksen has argued that, for Donne, whose approach he identifies as “moderate” and “conformist,” true conformity “means conformity with Christ,”84 expressed rhetorically in “constructive and conciliatory” terms,85 and framed between Laudians and Arminians on the one hand, and nonconforming puritans on the other.
Historians have commented on the polarization of views resulting from such moments of crisis, but it is also true that the Directions prompted preachers such as Donne to greater efforts of moderation and negotiation between hard-line extremes, and greater commitment to shared values. Donne’s influence on the establishment of a public sphere of religious debate will not be defined according to narrow standards of influence – by which we usually mean political influence – but in terms of vision and intellectual leadership.
John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit (Studies in Renaissance Literature) by Jeanne Shami