Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A ‘devotion’ generally consisted of meditation and prayer. The term was used loosely during the seventeenth century and had no stable referent in terms of form, but devotional writing had developed a number of characteristic features. Its structure reflected the purpose of meditation: to awaken the heart to sin, repentance, and desire for God. This article focuses on the aspect and importance of devotion in John Donne's poetry. A devotion's voice was generic: because it was assumed that any particular Christian's experience conformed to a general godly pattern, devotions did not offer immediate self-expression but rather voiced the meditator's experience in well-established theological terms. Devotional affect was to be based on right understanding, with a resultant blurring of the line between expression and instruction. Within each devotion, Donne's hermeneutic proceeds in stages enacted in the sequence of meditation, expostulation, and prayer. The meditations show the speaker as observer of his condition.

Keywords: devotion, meditation, hermeneutics, theological terms, expostulation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.