The Theology of John Donne

The Theology of John Donne

Jeffrey Johnson

John Donne discussed as an original religious thinker, drawing on his extant sermons for evidence of his personal theology.
John Donne has rarely been treated seriously as an original, religious thinker; his prose and poetry have been discussed in theological contexts for the purposes of highlighting their devotional nature and of seeking to identify Donne's sectarian allegiance, but in so doing critics have neglected Donne as a theologian in his own right, and his response to the religious controversies of his day. This new study not only describes the distinguishing features of Donne's theology, as revealed primarily in his extant sermons, but also reads a variety of his individual sermons in context as applications of his own theological vision. It begins by exploring what is for Donne the fundamental belief for regulating Christian faith and practice, the doctrine of the Trinity, and goes on to build on this theological groundwork, examining such topics as Donne's understanding of common prayer; the pre-eminence of sight and spectacle, in terms of religious self-fashioning and the iconoclastic controversy; the doctrine of repentance (in conjunction with Donne's own sense of clerical calling) and the doctrine of grace (including Donne's views regarding the controversy over the Lord's Supper).
JEFFREY JOHNSON is Professor of English at Northern Illinois University.


A very good book. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL This...reading of Donne's theology through a close examination of a range of his indispensable reading for the scholar interested in understanding the nuances of theological belief in the period. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY NEWS One of the most iportant books on Donne in many years... the best discussion that we so far possess of Donne's theological thought. YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES

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