Paraphrase sur l’Epistre de sainct Paul aux Hébreux

Antoine Godeau, Paris, 1637 (Google Books, 1651)

Lister recorded reading this work on 10 June 1664. Antoine Godeau (1605-1672) was a French bishop, exegete and poet.

He was most famous for his paraphrases of holy text, his paraphrase of the letters of St Paul and the book of Hebrews being first published in 1637, with five subsequent editions. Lister would read Godeau’s work again on 12 June 1664.

The portrayal of St. Paul changed greatly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the advent of the Protestant Reformation.  As Gregory Kneidel stated:

In place of the standard theological vocabulary oriented toward spiritual inwardness, [early modern] scholars and theorists highlight the ambiguous messianic rhetoric of expectation, fulfillment, and delay that Paul deployed in order to manage conflicts within his diverse church communities during the interim period between the first and second comings of Christ . . .  because of the flourishing rhetorical culture of Renaissance humanism, Paul’s skill as a rhetor could be recognized as such by scholars who noted, for example, that at least in portions of his epistles, Paul was defending himself and his teachings in the face of emergent controversies by using conventional Hellenistic rhetorical forms and tropes. That is, even after the Reformation and even in England, Paul could sometimes be seen as he is in Antoine Godeau’s Life of the Apostle, St. Paul (1653). He is not composing the written Word nor wielding his Sword of Faith, which he has either laid down or not yet picked up (for the word/sword pun, see Ephesians 6: 17). Instead, he is striking the pose of a classical orator. 1


  1. Gregory Kneidel,  Rethinking the Turn to Religion in Early Modern English Literature:  The Poetics of All Believers (New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 5.

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