Download e-book for iPad: Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early by Jane Hwang Degenhardt


By Jane Hwang Degenhardt

ISBN-10: 0748640843

ISBN-13: 9780748640843

This e-book explores the subject matter of Christian conversion to Islam in 12 early-modern English performs via Shakespeare, Marlowe, Massinger and others. In those works, conversion from Christianity to Islam is represented as either erotic and tragic: as a sexual seduction and a destiny worse than loss of life. Degenhardt examines the theatre's remedy of the sex among the Christian and Islamic faiths to bare connections among sexuality, race and confessional id in early glossy English drama and tradition. moreover, she exhibits how England's come across with Islam reanimated post-Reformation debates concerning the embodiment of Christian religion. As Degenhardt compellingly demonstrates, the erotics of conversion further gas to the fires of controversies over Pauline universalism, Christian martyrdom, the efficacy of relics and rituals and the beliefs of the Knights of Malta.

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Extra resources for Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage

Sample text

Despite Islam’s actual repudiation of idolatry, Smith conflates Muslims and Catholics as idolaters. I want to suggest that his association of these religious others with the practice of idolatry plays up the impossibility of their conversion precisely by singling out their inability to apprehend a faith they cannot see – a logic that, as we will see, also inheres in Othello. Moreover, Smith’s formulation implies through analogy an association between the Ethiopian eunuch’s physical alterity and an incapacity to embrace the spiritual essence of Christian baptism.

For example, in its depiction of Christian resistance and redemption for its protagonists, the stage drew upon contemporary theological understandings and debates about such topics as predestination, valid assurances of grace, and regeneration. Similarly, the terms of conversion were negotiated in relation to a culture of evolving Protestant reform and enduring Catholic traditions and residual habits. Shifting doctrinal interpretations had structural as well as generic implications. Playwrights assimilated the structures of miracle, conversion, resistance, and redemption – all of which were framed within specific, though fluctuating doctrines – into the generic structures of tragedy, comedy, or tragicomedy.

They attempted to mount an offensive stance by extending the miracle of Christian conversion to Muslim women through marriage to Christian men. Finally, they considered the question of what happens when a Christian crosses the line and succumbs to the pressures or seductions of Islam. Could he or she ever be brought back into the Christian fold? Was redemption possible, and if so, for whom and on what conditions? Narrative Models To devise plots of Christian-Muslim encounter, English playwrights drew upon, recycled, and refigured narrative models from the past that were distinctly invested in an embodied Christian self.

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Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage by Jane Hwang Degenhardt

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