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George Herbert and the Mystery of the Word


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Herbert's Neatness1. Mystery in The Temple2. The Critique of Certitude in3. Adoption, Doubt, and Presumption: From Perseverance to Assurance
4. Herbert, Scripture, and Fellowship5. Lord Cherbury in The Temple: Faith, Mystery, and Understanding
6. Truth and Method: Error and Discovery in The Temple7. The Mystery of Hearkening: Listening for The Odour 8. Conclusion

About the Author

Gary Kuchar is Associate Professor of English at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is the author of Divine Subjection: The Rhetoric of Sacramental Devotion in Early Modern England; The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England; and co-editor of The Return to Theory in Early Modern English Studies Vol. 2.


"Kuchar does put unique voices into dialogue with the Herbert corpus and his exploration of the interplay between dogmatic and mystical Christianity offers a fruitful jumping-off point for future studies. ... Herbert scholars and scholars of seventeenth-century religious culture will certainly find considerable value in this work." (Brad Pickens, Anglican Theological Review, Vol. 102 (1), 2020)"George Herbert and the Mystery of the Word makes a welcome turn in cultural studies, successfully reinstating a category and a mode of reading ... the theological and phenomenological peripheries offered will make this text valuable to read for all who study Herbert's poetry." (Jonathan Nauman, Seventeenth-Century News, Vol. 77 (1 - 2), 2019)"This is a book rife with gems of conceptual, interpretive, and historical insight. ... it is a valuable rethinking of the complexity of the English Reformation, as well as a welcome broadening of our understanding of what literary responses to doctrinal matters can entail." (Ryan Netzley, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 57 (4), October, 2018)

"The diverse scope of the book, ranging from reformation theology and biblical exegesis to natural philosophy and critical theory, makes it of interest not only to graduate students and academics working on Herbert, but to anyone interested in the philosophical debates of biblical reception and interpretation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. ... George Herbert and the Mystery of the Word is a striking piece of scholarship, expertly written, and wide-ranging in its implications for Herbert studies ... ." (Naya Tsentourou, Modern Language Review, Vol.113 (2), April, 2018)
"An essential inclusion on any Herbert bibliography ... . The ultimate payoff of George Herbert and the Mystery of the Word is not just a deep sense of Herbert's commitment to mystery, but the realization that this may be a root cause of the blossoming of seventeenth-century religious poetry. ... I will be rereading and thinking about this impressive book for some time, as I'm sure will anyone else interested in Herbert, seventeenth-century English religious literature, or seventeenth-century religion more broadly." (Hannibal Hamlin, George Herbert Journal, Vol. 40 (1+2), Fall 2016/ Spring 2017)

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