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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In Europe, from the advent of Christianity until towards the end of the twentieth century, the Bible remained unchallenged as the central text within the cultural polysystem, functioning as an agent for language enrichment and as a source text for literary inspiration, commentary, and reference. In England, theology and literature have always enjoyed a close relationship, first through the medium of the oral tradition and later through the influence of translated English Bibles and prayer books. As the Bible provided subject matter, a source of reference and analogy, and a model for narrative and poetic language, its influence on literature was naturally strong. This article examines how vernacular Bibles and prayer books through the ages influenced English writers and helped to shape the canon of English Literature.

Keywords: Europe, Christianity, Bible, theology, prayer books, English Literature

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