Abstract and Keywords
The Christian religion is based on the Bible, and no book had a greater influence on early modern English literature. The Bible was at the heart of the early modern culture of translation, and the English language was affected by the efforts of William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, and others to properly render the Bible’s original Hebrew and Greek. Since understanding and following the Bible was necessary to salvation, and the Bible is often difficult, Bible reading also demanded interpretation, and this led to the proliferation of interpretive aids: biblical paratexts, sermons, and commentaries. Translation is necessarily interpretive, in the choices made in English Bibles, but especially in broader paraphrases and adaptations, from the metrical Psalms of Sternhold and Hopkins and Philip and Mary Sidney to the biblical epics of Du Bartas, Abraham Cowley, and Milton. Much of early modern literature could be described as an effort to understand the Bible.
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