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Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in 17th-Century England$
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Achsah Guibbory

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557165.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 February 2021

Revolution and Reformation

Revolution and Reformation

Parliament ‘Fast Sermons,’ the Elect Nation, and Biblical Israel

(p.89) 3 Revolution and Reformation
Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in 17th-Century England

Achsah Guibbory

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how ‘puritan’ fast sermons, preached to Parliament during the English Revolution and then published, contributed to the idea of England as an ‘elect’ nation. These sermons regularly drew parallels between England's situation and that of the Jews returning from Babylonian captivity and faced with rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. Parliament's concerns with ‘fasting’ and swearing ‘covenants’ during the 1640s derived from a consciousness of the practices of ancient Israel, and were part of puritan ‘Israelite’ identity. Using biblical analogies, ministers preaching to Parliament divided the nation in two, identifying Parliament's side and the godly as Israel, and the King's forces and Laudians as the biblical enemies of Israel. But divisions also developed between Presbyterians, who wanted a national church, and Independents, who wanted toleration of Protestant differences. Milton's Areopagitica speaks to this situation as he recasts the image of Temple to include sectarian differences.

Keywords:   fasting, covenants, the Temple, Jews, English Revolution, Independents, Presbyterians, national church, toleration, Areopagitica

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