Three calls to the hero in George Herbert's The Temple

Date
1989-12-30
Authors
Hill, Darci
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Abstract

Critical evaluations of George Herbert's The Temple generally focus on the work's second movement The Church. The arrangement of this current study is based partially on the premise that The Temple is a work composed of three movements, each of which contributes to the complexity of Herbert's unified artistic statement. This study demonstrates how and why Herbert uses rhetorical strategies in each movement of The Temple to cast his reader in the dynamic and developing role of the Christian hero. This role becomes a vehicle for revealing the working interrelationship among all three movements of The Temple. From this perspective, the focal point of The Temple changes. The first movement "The Church Porch" becomes necessary training ground for the potential hero. The final movement "The Church Militant" brings to fruition concepts embodied in both "The Church Porch" and "The Church." In addition, this study seeks to identify and explain particular rhetorical strategies Herbert utilizes to assist and guide his reader through experiencing the ever-expanding role of Christian hero. Chapter 1, "An Invitation to the Text," delineates the major premises of the study and analyzes the benefits of rhetorical procedures. Chapter 2, "A Call to Morality," focuses on "The Church Porch" as a school for the Christian hero's moral training. This chapter demonstrates how the hero's assimilation and practice of these principles prepares him or her for entrance into "The Church" and ultimately into participation in "The Church Militant." Chapter 3, "A Call to the Spiritual Quest," reveals rhetorical strategies Herbert uses in the "Sinne Group" and in the "Old Testament Group." These strategies guide the Christian hero in spiritual development. Chapter 4, "A Call to Spiritual Conquest," offers a treatment of "The Church Militant." Often labeled as no more than an afterword to "The Church," this final movement completes the process of spiritual growth of the Christian hero and portrays all elements of the maturation process necessary for a spiritual conquest. This chapter identifies and explains the functioning of rhetorical strategies that vii Herbert finds useful in reifying the theme of Christian heroism. Chapter 5, "Pleasure of the Text," reemphasizes the necessity of a holistic reading of The Temple based on the rhetorical and thematic principles this study develops.

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Keywords
George Herbert, Early modern British authors, Christian hero role
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