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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘Convert’ suggests that a person has turned away from a former belief, practice, or nature and has decided to embrace what he considers a true faith or belief. ‘Conversion’ suggests transformation. It is a Christian revision of the Hebrew notion of teshuvah, which in Deuteronomy and the Hebrew prophets signifies a change that is a ‘return’ to the former path, a turning away from idolatry to the path set by God. The term ‘apostasy’ characterizes a person who has abandoned the true religion, who, indeed, has rejected God. The term demonizes the person it is applied to. Donne grew up in a society like this. Pseudo-Martyr (1610) contains some of Donne's most explicit statements about his ‘religion’, but we must remember that these remarks were published, intended for a public audience, and part of a polemical tract. Shaped by contingencies and multiple motives, these statements cannot be read simply as transparent expressions of Donne's beliefs.

Keywords: Donne, apostasy, contingencies, transparent expressions, Hebrew, Deuteronomy

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