Jacob Wiseman (UCL) - 2019-20 Students

'A Daniel Come to Judgement': The Book of Daniel in Early Modern English Literary Culture

My doctoral research concerns the Book of Daniel in early modern English literary culture. Through close attention to this single biblical book, it offers a revisionist account of the Bible in English from the Reformation to the Civil War. It argues that the meaning of scriptural texts was not generated through chapter and verse alone, but through a vast network that spanned written, oral, and material cultures. My thesis traces the narratives, characters, and motifs that arose from the Book of Daniel in order to recover a closer understanding of this biblical culture. It explores issues pertaining to the book’s translation from biblical and contemporary languages alongside the cultural reception of such narratives as Daniel in the lions’ den, Nebuchadnezzar’s madness, Belshazzar’s feast, and Susanna and the Elders. Foregrounding these narratives, the thesis discusses themes of biblical hermeneutics, providence, exemplarity, apocalypse, and the law. This research attends to a variety of genres, reading canonical authors alongside texts that have been largely overlooked by literary scholarship. By examining this range of material, my thesis suggests that the Book of Daniel offers insight into the malleability and miscellaneity of early modern biblical culture.

Primary supervisor: Prof Alison Shell, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Linda Freedman, UCL

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