Edward Taylor's "brightest gem" : a religio-aesthetic explication of Gods determinations

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dc.contributor.advisor Kirkham, E. Bruce (Edwin Bruce), 1938- en_US
dc.contributor.author Goodman, Dana Richard, 1946- en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-03T19:26:02Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-03T19:26:02Z
dc.date.created 1976 en_US
dc.date.issued 1976
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1976 .G66 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/handle/handle/176423
dc.description.abstract This study examines intensively Edward Taylor's Gods Determinations touching his Elect: and The Elects Combat in their Conversion, and Coming up to God in Christ together with the Comfortable Effects thereof. This poetic history was probably written immediately prior to one of Taylor's spiritual unions with God, which he described in his Preparatory Meditations. It is the work of a man sure of himself and of his salvation. For Taylor the task was clear: he must explain and justify to his parishioners the revelations from God which he had so regularly and recently experienced during the sacrament of communion.Gods Determinations is not the personal and enigmatic notations of a secretive Puritan minister. In the poem Taylor did not doubt his ideas or his purpose; however, if he was certain of his religious standing, the characters in the poem are not. What makes the poem more than mere Calvinistic propaganda is the fact that in the context of the poem the human characters are not static and unchanging. They choose to act. Gods Determinations is poetically complex, lacking neither tension nor paradox. The characters are not emotionless puppets; their hopes and fears evolve as the poem progresses. Tension arises from their ability to choose, to act.Taylor's poem is best viewed as a soul-search, the culmination of which will be the joyful exclamation of found assurance and of enlightened purpose. What Taylor had experienced in his soul's quest for truth in Gods Determinations enabled him to proceed confidently with his task in Preparatory Meditations, his life task, one might note, for these meditations covered a span of 43 years, from 1682-1725. The rational struggle for assurance is fought in Gods Determinations; the sensual and emotional expression of his complete joy and obedience is found in Preparatory Meditations. Taylor found strength in Gods Determinations to proceed on his poetic course of action. His Preparatory, Meditations were the poetic fruit of victory found in Gods Determinations,.Initially this study reviews and analyzes those scholarly studies which were concerned with Taylor's theology and his poetic devices, at first as they are found in all of Taylor's writings but more specifically as they are found in Gods Determinations. Often these studies were found to be critically inaccurate, unfair to Taylor the Puritan minister or to Taylor the poet.The heart of this study is that Edward Taylor the faithful Puritan minister was a serious poet who revised and edited his poems, as witness the first drafts and revisions of the Poetical Works. He controlled his material. Yet his poetic devices were always harnessed to theological ideas. Thus Taylor's poetic style is best viewed as religioaesthetic, a combination of spiritual and sensual realms.Granting Taylor's poetic ability, this study proceeds to explicate Gods Determinations, dividing the long poem into four significant eras of man's spiritual consciousness. The poem's thirty-six lyrics are not primarily a play, or a sermon, or a meditation; they are a history, a spiritual history of God's people. Taylor viewed this history in terms of four dispensations of God's Grace, four historical eras of significant religious awareness.Taylor's Gods Determinations progresses historically (in Judeo-Christian terms) from the beginning of time to a particular place in time, seventeenth-century Puritan New England. Ultimately, however, the poem is best viewed cyclically, spiritually and physically having no beginning or end. The essential concept, the unifying theme, of the entire poem is renewal. The poem does not end physically, because Taylor led into the Preparatory Meditations with it; it does not end spiritually because God is eternal and manis eternal. Taylor's fundamental aesthetic value must depend upon the complexity of the experiences of his characters during his four spiritual dispensations of God's Grace. In the end, the universal emotions and feelings of these struggling men were particularized by Puritan tenets that Taylor felt satisfied these emotions and yearnings. en_US
dc.format.extent iii, 249 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.other Taylor, Edward, 1642-1729. God's determinations touching His elect. en_US
dc.title Edward Taylor's "brightest gem" : a religio-aesthetic explication of Gods determinations en_US
dc.description.degree Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/414796 en_US


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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3121]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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