"Deign'd to Chuse" Calvinism: moderate Calvinistic theology in John Donne's Holy Sonnets and Sermons
LE3 .A278 2006
Master of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
This thesis explores the theology portrayed in John Donne's ' Holy Sonnets' and 'Sermons', as it argues for the reformed and even Calvinistic nature of Donne's religious writings. I have positioned my argument against recent critics who maintain that Donne was distinctly anti-Calvinist and even Catholic, and I argue for Donne's moderate approach to Calvinistic theology. I believe that failure to acknowledge the Calvinistic element of Donne's religious verse and prose stems from a misunderstanding of Calvinism itself; thus, given an appropriate understanding of Calvinistic theology, Donne's religious writings can be understood as portraying a form of moderate Calvinism. Examination and analysis of Donne's sonnets and sermons, in light of the religious spectrum of the seventeenth-century church, reveal them to convey moderate Calvinistic theology, as Donne's writings can be understood to reflect Calvin's writings both in theology and in approach.
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