Picturing Religious Experience: George Herbert, Calvin, and the Scriptures

Cover: Picturing Religious Experience: George Herbert, Calvin, and the Scriptures
Daniel W. Doerksen

November 2011 • ISBN 978-1-64453-111-2 • $102.95

November 2011 • ISBN 978-1-64453-112-9 • $50.00

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Little has been said about the relationship of Herbert’s writings to those of John Calvin, yet the latter were abundant and influential in Herbert’s Church of England. Accordingly Picturing Religious Experience studies Herbert’s poetry in relation to those writings, particularly regarding “spiritual conflicts,” which the poet himself said would be found depicted in his book of poems. Much more than is generally realized, Calvin wrote about the experience of living the Christian life—which is also Herbert’s subject in many of his poems. Altogether, this study maintains that Herbert owes to his religious orientation not just themes or details, but an impulse to observe and depict the inner life, and scriptural patterns which significantly contribute to the substance and literary excellence of The Temple.

About the Author

Daniel W. Doerksen is Honorary Research Professor at the University of New Brunswick.

Reviews of 'Picturing Religious Experience: George Herbert, Calvin, and the Scriptures'

Doerksen’s welcome study takes a position in the ongoing debate about the religious stance assumed by George Herbert in the poems of The Temple (1633). […] The book will be required reading for participants on either side of the debate. For those on neither side, Doerksen’s volume will prove especially valuable as a helpful chrestomathy or collection of choice passages from Calvin that illuminate […] key motifs of Herbert’s spirituality.
- Choice
Picturing Religious Experience is the most extensive treatment of Calvin’s influence on Herbert to date. Doerksen’s command of his material is evident in sustained readings of individual poems informed by relevant parallels in Calvin’s readings of scripture, and in effortless summoning of multiple passages from Herbert, scripture, and Calvin in support of a given point. The book is a formidable contribution to the ‘Calvinist consensus’ view of the early-Stuart English church […]
- Renaissance Quarterly