King James I and the Religious Culture of England

King James I and the Religious Culture of England

James Doelman
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81n0x
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  • Book Info
    King James I and the Religious Culture of England
    Book Description:

    James I and the Religious Culture of England’ is a study of King James's influence, both direct and indirect, on various aspects of religious life in England during his reign; James emerges as more interested in religious matters than in any other aspect of English culture. It brings together literary, religious and political history to consider such topics as the poetic response to James's accession, prophetic poetry at court, the neo-Latin religious epigram, the politics of conversion, and the biblical iconography of peace-making applied to James; the short devotional lyric, religious narrative, philosophical or theological verse, works of religious satire and controversy, liturgical verse, and sermons are all examined, and relatively unstudied writers such as John Davies of Hereford, Joshua Sylvester, Andrew Melville, Joseph Hall, George Wither. Professor JAMES DOELMAN teaches in the Department of English at McMaster University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-097-5
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. 1-6)
  3. Chapter 1 BEGINNINGS: THE ROOTS OF JAMES’ ROLE IN RELIGIOUS CULTURE
    (pp. 7-19)

    JAMES Stuart arrived in England in 1603 with a well-developed understanding of the role of a king in the religious life of his kingdom. This understanding had two prime sources: the Protestant understanding of the Bible as it related to kingship, and his experiences as a young king of Scotland. The Scottish reign not only affected James’ own view of his role, it also developed expectations among the English, as they looked to the church and court of Scotland for a model of what they themselves might expect in 1603.

    In his opening speech to the Hampton Court Conference of...

  4. Chapter 2 THE ACCESSION OF KING JAMES I AND ENGLISH RELIGIOUS POETRY
    (pp. 20-38)

    WHEN King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603, many English poets felt that the event marked the beginning of a new cultural climate, one in which religious verse would be highly valued. His accession encouraged some poets to switch from writing secular verse to sacred or philosophical, and others to publish religious poetry that, while written during the earlier reign, could now be published to a more receptive climate. The result was an outpouring of religious verse in the years 1603–05.¹ This chapter will focus on the optimism among writers that James would...

  5. Chapter 3 PROPHETS AND THE KING
    (pp. 39-56)

    IN his prose work The Wonderfull Yeare, Thomas Dekker celebrates 1603 as a year noteworthy both for the peaceful accession of a new king in the spring, and the devastating plague of that summer. The outpouring of praise and hope at James’ accession has been traced in the previous chapter, but as a time of national crisis this year also elicited a much different kind of poetry. As an “annus mirabilis” it provided an opportunity for outspoken assessment of the state of England, an assessment which sometimes established itself in reference to Israel’s prophets. By far the majority of works...

  6. Chapter 4 KING JAMES, ANDREW MELVILLE AND THE NEO-LATIN RELIGIOUS EPIGRAM
    (pp. 57-72)

    ANDREW Melville, the Scottish scholar, preacher, and poet, is most often remembered for his confrontation with King James at the Falkland General Assembly of 1596, at which time he plucked James by the sleeve, and referred to him as “God’s sillie vassal”. While this is typical of the tension between the king and the de facto leader of the Scottish Presbyterians from the 1580s on, their relationship went through a series of stages, with frequent periods of ambivalence on the part of both men. At times, Melville was quite prepared poetically to praise James as at least a potential godly...

  7. Chapter 5 FROM CONSTANTINIAN EMPEROR TO REX PACIFICUS: THE EVOLVING ICONOGRAPHY OF JAMES I
    (pp. 73-101)

    THE iconography of James I drew on a substantial number of previous models – biblical, imperial and British. William Germano, in an unpublished dissertation on dedications to King James, notes that “As early as 1604, James had been hailed as any number of biblical kings, as a Caesar (particularly Constantine and Titus), a Noah, someone vaguely related to Apollo or Apollo himself, Atlas, and even Homer.”¹ Classical and biblical prototypes would often be brought together in describing James: Robert Burton describes him as “a wise, learned, religious king, another Numa, a second Augustus, a true Josiah”.²

    As I suggested in...

  8. Chapter 6 KING JAMES AND THE POLITICS OF CONVERSION
    (pp. 102-134)

    AROUND 1614, the Dutch painter Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne produced a canvas entitled “Fishing for Souls”, which shows a wide river, with crowds of men portrayed on either bank – well-known Protestants on the right-bank of the river, and Roman Catholics on the left. In the midst of the river are a number of boats, each attempting to haul in various swimming or drowning figures. The painting effectively conveys the vigour with which the two halves of western Christendom attempted to win converts, especially converts of political or scholarly significance.¹ The year of the painting is also significant, for...

  9. Chapter 7 THE SONGS OF DAVID: KING JAMES AND THE PSALTER
    (pp. 135-157)

    AMONG James’ earliest poetic endeavours was a versification of Psalm 104, which appeared in Essayes of a Prentise (1584). This psalm is described as “translated out of Tremellius”, and being composed in an eight-line stanza would not have matched any of the common meter tunes then in use with the Psalms:

    To Jehova I all my lyfe shall sing,

    To sound his Name I ever still shall cair:

    It shall be sweit my thinking on that King:

    In him I shall be glaid for ever mair:

    O let the wicked be into no whair

    In earth. O let the sinfull...

  10. Chapter 8 THE DEATH OF SOLOMON
    (pp. 158-166)

    AT the beginning of King James’ reign, William Thorne had reminded him that while men might praise him as a God, he would “die like a man”, an eminently safe, if unwelcome, prediction.² Daniel Price, dean of Hereford, in his sermon preached at Theobalds just hours before James’ death, recalled that biblical verse as well.³ The occasion of the king’s death, in March 1625, provided the people of England with an opportunity to reconsider both the human and divine qualities of their monarch of twenty-two years. Some attention was also given to the mark he had left on religious life...

  11. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 167-178)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 179-184)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. None)