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Retelling the Siege of Jerusalem in Early Modern England

Vanita Neelakanta

BUY Cloth · 236 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644530122 · $70.00 · May 2019
BUY Paper · 236 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644530139 · $35.00 · May 2019
BUY Ebook · 236 pp. · ISBN 9781644530146 · $70.00 · May 2019

This compelling book explores sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English retellings of the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the way they informed and were informed by religious and political developments. The siege featured prominently in many early modern English sermons, ballads, plays, histories, and pamphlets, functioning as a touchstone for writers who sought to locate their own national drama of civil and religious tumult within a larger biblical and post-biblical context. Reformed England identified with besieged Jerusalem, establishing an equivalency between the Protestant church and the ancient Jewish nation but exposing fears that a displeased God could destroy his beloved nation. As print culture grew, secular interpretations of the siege ran alongside once-dominant providentialist narratives and spoke to the political anxieties in England as it was beginning to fashion a conception of itself as a nation.

Distributed for the University of Delaware Press


"A distinguished piece of scholarship, superbly researched and written. Neelakanta persuasively shows that the siege of Jerusalem was retold repeatedly to reflect religious concerns. The story she relates is rich and fascinating, and she is a superb reader of texts. Her analysis of these retellings in various genres is excellent."

Achsah Guibbory, Barnard College, author of Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in Seventeenth-Century England

[A] fascinating study of how people in post-Reformation England represented history, and how they conceived of their own place within it.... Neelakanta’s scholarship is impressive: she marshals a large number of primary sources, and brings together a wide range of topics.... [T]his is a convincing and thoroughly-researched book, and a major contribution to the study of early modern historical thought.

Renaissance Studies

About the Author(s): 

Vanita Neelakanta is Associate professor of English at Rider University.

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