Essayes in Divinity: Being Several Disquisitions Interwoven with Meditations and Prayers
McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2001 - 209 pages
In this new edition of Donne's Essayes in Divinity Anthony Raspa demonstrates how Donne reconciles the destiny of Christians, who arose out of divine creation, with the turbulent state of the Renaissance world. Raspa argues that the purpose of Donne's work is to explain how Genesis and Exodus capture the essence of existence for a person who must deal with life as both an individual and a member of a community. Completed late in 1614, Essayes, Donne's only theological and philosophical treatise, casts considerable light on his ideas about his own future.
Donne entered the Anglican priesthood soon after completing it and Raspa reveals that, particularly because of its treatment of time and destiny, Essayes is crucial to our understanding of the development of Donne's ideas about the turbulent religio-political state of the Renaissance world and how he came to see his own life within it. Raspa contends that Essayes is a peculiarly modern work and that Donne, as a Renaissance humanist, was profoundly shaken by the development of empirical thinking and the seemingly endless political conflicts among Christian denominations. He shows that Donne drew on the entirety of Renaissance humanist learning in an attempt to reconcile the state of contemporary knowledge with the destiny of humanity prophesied in the bible.
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