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The Johannine Renaissance in Early Modern English Theology and Literature

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Friday, October 26, 2018
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4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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Paul Cefalu
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Medieval and Renaissance Studies Lecture

A long tradition of scholarship has declared the singular influence of St. Paul's theology on early modern English Calvinism and Puritanism. Paul's accounts of justification, the law-Gospel relationship, and what now is typically described as Pauline universalism and political theology, touched off the most fateful debates between 16th- and 17th-century Puritans and Conformists concerning covenant theology, personal assurance, and church reform. Much of the so-called turn to religion in recent early modern English studies has been a return to Pauline theology.

In this lecture, Paul Cefalu presents a revisionist view: the Fourth Gospel and First Epistle of St. John the Evangelist were so influential during the period as to share with Pauline theology pride of place as leading apostolic texts on matters Christological, sacramental, pneumatological, and political. Cefalu will outline several features of a distinctive Johannine devotionalism focused on discipleship misunderstanding, realized eschatology, John's "high" Christology, and a theology of comfort and personal assurance. He will also discuss the Johannine Christology of some of George Herbert's devotional poems that focus on the Longinus piercing of Christ.

Paul Cefalu is Frank Lee and Edna M. Smith Professor of English at Lafayette College. He recently published The Johannine Renaissance in Early Modern English Literature and Theology (Oxford UP, 2017). See more details in More Event Information.