Typological reading, a strategy for biblical exegesis developed in ancient times and practiced through the medieval period, was alive and well - indeed, inescapable - in Elizabethan sermons and liturgies. Spenserian allegory and Elizabethan biblical exegesis is the first book to show the relevance of this cultural habit to The Faerie Queene. A wealth of quotations from contemporary sources transports readers into the mindset of Elizabethans to allow an encounter with The Faerie Queene in a fresh and genuine way.
Preachers and liturgists mined the Bible for parallels of Elizabeth Tudor and other figures from current events. This study juxtaposes these biblical types with characters from Spenser's epic, offering fresh interpretations of the 'chronicle history' cantos, Florimell's adventures, the Souldan episode, Mercilla's judgment on Duessa, and even the two stanzas that close the Mutabilitie fragment.
Spenserian allegory and Elizabethan biblical exegesis will be of interest to students of Reformation theology and hermeneutics, students and scholars of Spenser's poetry, and those interested in the expanding field of sermon studies.
About the Author
Margaret Christian is Associate Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University, Lehigh Valley Campus
Table of Contents
Introduction: A context for The Faerie Queene
Part I: Backgrounds: allegorical reading in Spenser's England
1. Traditional scriptural interpretation and sixteenth-century allegoresis: old and new
2. Allegorical reading in occasional Elizabethan liturgies
3. Allegorical reading in sermon references to history and current events
Part II: The preachers' Bible and Spenser's Faerie Queene: alternate allegories
4. 'The ground of Storie': genealogy in biblical exegesis and the Legend of Temperance
5. 'Waues of weary wretchednesse': Florimell and the sea
6. Saracens, Assyrians and Spaniards: allegories of the Armada
7. 'a goodly amiable name for mildness': Mercilla and other Elizabethan types
8. Court and courtesy: sermon contexts for Spenser's Book VI
9. 'Now lettest thou thy servant depart': scriptural tradition and the close of The Faerie Queene