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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As both text and object, the early modern English Bible functioned as a prompt to conversion and a tool with which both individuals and religious or corporate bodies attempted to effect and secure religious change. This chapter explores influential models for conversion ‘by the book’, and asks how these accounts structured the experience and understanding of divine inspiration and the move between churches. Where the first part explores debates around Bible reading and use in England, the second considers the Bible as a crucial prop in missionary and mercantile activity. Throughout, the chapter considers the materiality of the Bible-as-book, and emphasizes the extent to which Bible reading was understood to be an affective and ideally transformative act, balanced between will and the submission to divine grace.

Keywords: conversion, reading, Americas, evangelization, Bible as book

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