Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The goal of this thesis is to examine the ways in which the areas of art and religion coincide within George Herbert's The Temple. It is my contention that Herbert constructs the figure of the religious poet as a mediating tool; the religious poet, more than any other figure within The Temple, is granted access to both the secular realm and the divine realm. The religious poet, as constructed by Herbert, acts as a human interpreter of divine will and in doing so illustrates the importance of self-understanding in worship. Although the religious poet never fully attains union with God, it is within his failure to do so that some of the most moving and interesting poems are created, for self-understanding includes both grief and bliss.
Herbert's religious poet emphasizes the value of individual interpretation of scripture; of writing oneself into the divine story. His position within The Temple calls attention to the more "human" aspects of religion, such as the human struggle to understand divinity and locate itself in relation to it. As such, he functions as a model for Christian worship and his poetry becomes the prayer uttered by the devotee.
Dunford, Jennifer, ""When the soul unto the lines accords": Locating the Poet Within The Temple" (2002). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7195.
McMaster University Library