Book Talk: "Retelling the Siege of Jerusalem in Early Modern England" with Vanita Neelakanta and Nigel Smith

10/16/2019 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Marx 101
Vanita Neelakanta, Rider University, and Nigel Smith, Princeton

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.

Sponsored by: Department of English and the Program in Judaic Studies