Abstract

Abstract:

John Bunyan’s 1666 spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, attempts to fill a semiotic void at the heart of Reformed theology by transferring the understanding of bodily “remembrance” (or, in the Platonic and Scriptural traditions, “anamnesis”) from the Catholic Eucharist, transubstantiated and consumed, to the vivid corporeal response that, in Bunyan, comes from remembering Scripture. This essay argues that the intensely bodily language with which Bunyan describes his everyday recollections of Scripture is an idiosyncratic response to a crisis in signification for Protestants. Peter Goldman identifies in Bunyan a concern with “literary iconoclasm” that “led, ironically, to metaphorical language”; this essay contends that such language in Grace Abounding stems instead from Bunyan’s concern with corporeal refashioning, and that its primary motive is the relocation of remembrance in religious practice.

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