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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Concepts of scripture’s unity are fundamental to sola scriptura, yet devotional poetry appears to play fast and loose with scripture. This chapter examines the apparent contradiction in the practice of devotional writers like George Herbert, who criticize the piecemeal use of scriptural texts while peppering their language with scriptural words, often taken very much out of context. It argues for new ways of approaching devotional writers’ understanding of scriptural unity. Full comprehension of early modern writers’ use of scriptural phrases relies on coherence (the connection between the verse and its surrounding text) and contexture (the weaving together of texts to form meaning). Coherence and contexture inform devotional writers’ incorporation of scriptural words and phrases into their own language. For devotional writers, the invocation of scripture’s coherences and contextures is fundamental to their understanding of, and means of effecting, a sense of unity between scripture’s language and their own.

Keywords: George Herbert, sola scriptura, devotional writing, scriptural unity, biblical quotation

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