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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

During the early modern period, doctrinal debate was at the forefront of intellectual and political life. The interrogation of religious ideology on stage often provoked controversy and reaction. Playwrights responded to, but also attempted to shape, these religious debates. I argue that periodic attempts by the authorities to ‘reform’ the stage were only partially successful. Paradoxically, however, the incompletion of these efforts were deeply generative for dramatists, opening up a wide range of aesthetic possibilities that were exploited throughout the period. The second part of this chapter examines some of these possibilities in more detail, and in light of the ‘turn to religion’ in recent scholarship, looks in particular at drama and the Bible, and the exploration of various religious passions on stage.

Keywords: Reformation, theology, religion, drama, Bible, polemics, passions

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