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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The King James Bible was for James only one part of a lifelong project of ‘moving’ and ‘authoring’. Since the 1580s, he had been authoring his own scriptural translations, exegeses, and paraphrases, and, since the late 1590s, writing treatises which grounded their political theorizing in interpretations of scripture. From 1603 James had been directing preachers in England, furnishing his subjects with his own scriptural interpretations, increasing the numbers of court and political anniversary sermons, and seeking to determine the content of some of those sermons. The publication of the 1611 Bible exposed the King to particular kinds of scrutiny from his subjects. This chapter considers how James’s self-construction as scriptural interpreter was viewed by his subjects, arguing that contemporaries such as John Donne subtly articulated reservations about and challenges to James’s political use of the Bible.

Keywords: King James, biblical exegesis, scriptural interpretation, Directions for Preachers, John Donne

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