Absalom and Achitophel -John Bunyan – (Religious background)

John Bunyan (28 November 1628 – 31 August 1688) was an English Christian writer and preacher, who is well known for his book The Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan was born in 1628 to Thomas and Margaret Bunyan, in Bunyan’s End in the parish of Elstow, Bedfordshire, England. John is recorded in the Elstow parish register as having been baptised, with his surname spelled ‘Bunyan’, on 30 November 1628. Though he became a non-conformist and member of an Independent church, and although he has been described both as a Baptist and as a Congregationalist, he himself preferred to be described simply as a Christian.

He is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on August 30, and on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (US) on August 29. Some other Churches of the Anglican Communion, such as the Anglican Church of Australia, honour him on the day of his death (August 31) together with St. Aidan of Lindisfarne. The Pilgrim’s Progress: The Pilgrim’s Progress from is a Christian allegory written in two parts by John Bunyan , the first part was published in London in 1678 and the second in 1684. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature.

He conceived the work during his first period of imprisonment, and probably finished it during the second. The earliest edition in which the two parts combined in one volume came in 1728. A third part – falsely attributed to Bunyan – appeared in 1693, and was reprinted as late as 1852. Its full title is The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come. Bunyan’s use of allegory: ( to choose from 1 or 2 texts) :Ss (1) A tradition going back to Coleridge asserts that The Pilgrim’s Progress is not a true allegory but rather a proto-novel expressive of early modern individualism.

The work is radically individualistic, but it is also truly an allegory. Recent research has emphasized how closely related metaphor often is to metonymy and how intimately the two can interact to produce metaphtonymy. This interaction is just as important in allegory as in purely linguistic metaphor and metonymy. The Pilgrim’s Progress makes subtle use of conceptual metaphtonymy to express its individualism. Although the degree of individualism these cognitive structures express is greater than anything in earlier allegorical tradition, the structures themselves are inherited from medieval allegories such as Everyman.

This sharing of major cognitive structure with earlier medieval allegories shows that The Pilgrim’s Progress is truly an allegory. An area in which the interaction of metaphor and metonymy is particularly notable is that of blending. The occurrence of highly creative blending in at least some of its scenes is further evidence for the truly allegoric nature of The Pilgrim’s Progress. (2) Bunyan’s use of allegory in The Pilgrim’s Progress is clearly evident.

As previously noted, Bunyan chooses names for the various characters which Christian encounters on his journey that are laden with obvious allusions to Christian virtues and vices. The reader does not have to toil in order to decipher Bunyan’s allegorical meaning; the character named Evangelist is, obviously, an evangelist. Likewise, if a character is called Hopeful or Mr. Money-Love, it is obvious that they each embody the traits suggested by their respective names. Oftentimes, Bunyan juxtaposes characters whose names appear to be polar opposites. For example, he couples Obstinate with Pliable.

In doing so he further establishes the meaning of the names of his characters; the reader might view Obstinate’s pigheadedness in light of Pliable’s softness. As a result, the true nature of each character’s core is truly confirmed. Early modern political thought: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: In Leviathan, Hobbes set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments – originating social contract theory. Leviathan was written during the English Civil War; much of the book is occupied with demonstrating the necessity of a strong central authority to avoid the evil of discord and civil war.

Beginning from a mechanistic understanding of human beings and the passions, Hobbes postulates what life would be like without government, a condition which he calls the state of nature. In that state, each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world. This, Hobbes argues, would lead to a “war of all against all” (bellum omnium contra omnes – from Latin). In such a state, people fear death, and lack both the things necessary to commodious living, and the hope of being able to toil to obtain them.

So in order to avoid it people accede to a social contract and establish a civil society. According to Hobbes, society is a population beneath a sovereign authority, to whom all individuals in that society cede some rights for the sake of protection. Any abuses of power by this authority are to be accepted as the price of peace. There is no doctrine of separation of powers in Hobbes’s discussion. According to Hobbes, the sovereign must control civil, military, judicial, and ecclesiastical powers.

In Leviathan, Hobbes explicitly states that the sovereign has authority to assert power over matters of faith and doctrine, and that if he does not do so, he invites discord. Hobbes presents his own religious theory, but states that he would defer to the will of the sovereign (when that was re-established: again, Leviathan was written during the Civil War) as to whether his theory was acceptable. Tuck argues that it further marks Hobbes as a supporter of the religious policy of the post-Civil War English republic, Independency.