Transformations: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Religion, Texts, Cultures

Friday, September 30, 2005–Saturday, October 1, 2005
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

—a conference organized by Lorna Clymer, California State University, Bakersfield

The conference addresses transformative interactions among religion, texts, and cultures during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries in the British Isles, the European continent, and European settlements. The primary focus is the interaction of religious texts and Christian cultures. Such interaction can be found in Anglican, Catholic, and Dissenting practices, theology, politics, and in related definitions of the self, communities, and nations.

Each presenter considers a text that contributed to or represents a cultural transformation, in which new practices were established, and by which important values or identities were defined. The role of religion in cultural transformation is evidenced by various texts, such as editions of the Bible, sermons, prayer books, devotional and conduct manuals, hymnals, poetry, allegories, didactic fiction and drama, tracts, and treatises.

Topics to be considered include: religious traditions evolving in print and in oral practices; discussions of miracles; the influence of the Book of Common Prayer; connections between orthodox Christianity and philosophy or science; convergences of Biblical scholarship and early modern musicology; worship as defined by theology and poetics; interactions of non-Christian religions with Christianity; and appropriations of pagan texts for Christian purposes.

The secular focus of some “Enlightenment” studies may on occasion tend to undervalue the continuing centrality of religion. This conference will explore some of the complexities of early modern cultures in which life was integrally connected with or defined by religion.

Session 1

Isabel Rivers, School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London
“William Law and Religious Revival”

Lori Anne Ferrell, Claremont Graduate University
“Calvinism for Dummies: How-to Books and the Arts of Theology”

J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago/University of Virginia
“From Intention to Rhetoric and Back: How Do You Spell Belief”

Session 2

Chris Mounsey, University College, Winchester
“Indifferent Ceremonies: Anglican and Dissenting Religious Services”

Susan Staves, Brandeis University
“Jephtha’s Vow Reconsidered: Biblical Scholars, Theologians, Musicians, and Other Intellectuals”

Session 3

Lowell Gallagher, University of California, Los Angeles
“Looking for Lot’s Wife: The Structure of Testimony in the Painted Life of Mary Ward”

Heather James, University of Southern California
“Metamorphoses of Faith in the Renaissance Ovid”

Peter McCullough, Lincoln College, Oxford University
“Lancelot Andrewes’s Transforming Passions”

Session 4

Debora Shuger, University of California, University of California, Los Angeles
“Identity over Time: Narrative, Penance, and the Law”

John Sitter, University of Notre Dame
“Marian Musings: Blessed Virgins in Eighteenth-Century Poetry”