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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores early modern literary responses to one of the most fundamental issues in the Christian faith—the love of God for humankind, and its reception and reciprocation by individuals and communities. Textual explorations of sacred love, closely interlinked with writings about secular love, are drawn from the full chronological span of the volume, ranging from Richard Rolle in 1506 to Damaris Masham in 1696. The works discussed are from a wide variety of genres, including lyric poetry, devotional prose, prayers, sermons, and autobiographical writings. The subject of love is seen to open up some of the major religious controversies of the period, including the nature of Christ’s redemptive love and its expression in the Eucharist; the possible tension between love for God and charity towards others; and the roles of gender, sacrifice, perplexity, and mystery in the relationship between God and humanity.

Keywords: love, charity, redemption, sacrifice, grace, Eucharist, gender, mystery, devotion, perplexity

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