Raphael Magarik Lecture: “Free Indirect Revelation: Secularism, Narratology, and Peasant Revolts in Luther’s Lectures on Genesis”

Date / Time

February 23, 2022

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Raphael Magarik, Department of English
2021-2022 Faculty Fellow

Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 4-6 p.m.
Location:  Room 302 SCE, 750 S. Halsted St., and via Zoom (link below)

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Lecture: Free Indirect Revelation: Secularism, Narratology, and Peasant Revolts in Luther’s “Lectures on Genesis”

The great, early Reformer Martin Luther is often thought to have advocated a simple, direct relationship between the religious believer and the Bible. In this talk, I will show how in fact, Luther’s Bible (I focus on Genesis) is intensely and complexly mediated by a web of ministers: characters within the story, 16th-century preachers like Luther himself, and most importantly, the Mosaic narrator. This argument exemplifies my book project’s larger claim: Protestant commentators and poets newly imagined the Bible as containing a doubled structure of author and narrator—a way of thinking about literary narrative we now take for granted, but which they helped invent. While I chart the invention of basic, modern ways of thinking about narration, I also show how that story is entangled with a process of secularization—in this case, a hierarchical, elite disciplining of unruly religiosity.

Raphael Magarik studies 16th- and 17th-century British literature, with interests in secularization and religion, theories of narration and the pre-history of the novel, labor and theatrical collaboration, Christian Hebraism and biblical studies, and early modern women’s writing. His first book project, “Who Narrates the Bible? Reformation Narratology and English Biblical Poetry,” argues that early modern scholars invented the idea of the biblical narrator, which in turn offered English poets models for their own, biblically themed poems and for fictive invention. He has published work from that project in Reformation, and he has articles in Milton Studies, Notes & Queries, and the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, as well as an article forthcoming in PMLA. He has also written popularly, including for The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Jacobin, and Haaretz. He tweets occasionally @raffimagarik.

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