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Bunyan, lecture 3. Analyzing particular episodes & Asking questions. I. “The Soul of Religion is the practick part” (78); “There is therefore knowledge and knowledge ”(80 ). Talkative (74 ff.) – What is the problem? What is the theological point here?

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bunyan lecture 3

Bunyan, lecture 3

Analyzing particular episodes


Asking questions

i the soul of religion is the practick part 78 there is therefore knowledge and knowledge 80
I. “The Soul of Religion is the practick part” (78); “There is therefore knowledge and knowledge”(80)
  • Talkative(74 ff.) – What is the problem? What is the theological point here?
  • Learning by talk: “insufficiency of works”; “ignorantly live in the works of the Law”; “all is of Grace”; “things heavenly, or things earthly”; “things more Essential, or things Circumstantial”
  • “By an experimental confession of his Faith in Christ”(81)
  • “you are some peevish, or melancholly man”(82)
ii vanity fair a satire on the world 85 ff
II. Vanity Fair: a Satire on the World(85 ff)
  • The VF episode incorporates all known history (5000 years) (See p. 85 & note on p. 301).
  • The pilgrims are outsiders, strangers, in this world. Why so? See their indictment (90) & see note on p. 302.
  • What are the political implications of the accusations?(91)
  • Who are witnesses for the prosecution & the jury (91-95)
  • Faithful’s martyrdom recapitulates the stories of all Christian martyrs (beginning with Stephen)(95).
  • VF is a compressed and caustic version of the (economically centered) “world.”
iii christian hopeful
III. Christian & Hopeful
  • By-ends & Fair Speech // Expedience/casuistry(97 ff)
    • Lord Turn-about; Lord Time-server; Mr. Two-tongues
    • Christian NOTICES a NAME! (98)
  • Can Mr. Hold-the-World orMr. Mony-love or Mr. Save-all “go against Wind and Tide”?
  • Read carefully the kind of problems they consider. What is the status of “accommodation” in The Pilgrim’s Progress?
    • The whole population and landscape of the ‘Old Testament’ seem still to exist—Lot’s wife, p.105.
iv doubting castle and the giant despair 109 115 ff 118
IV. Doubting Castle and the Giant Despair(109-115 ff.; 118)
  • Deviating from the way (108); “Who could have thought????”
  • Folktale & romance: & an English landowner (109)
    • An incompetent giant
  • Despair & an invitation to suicide
    • Election seems precarious.
    • Hopeful’s task (112)
  • Fear & the comic/satiric force of the episode (cf.Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, 19)
  • The great escape: “the Congregation of the dead” (118).
v the role of fear in christian s theology i m giving you the evidence what do you think
V. The role of fear in Christian’s theology: I’m giving you the evidence. What do you think?
  • “I fear that this burden . . . will sink me lower than the grave” (11).
  • “Fear followed me so hard,” (16). “fear of the lions” (42, 45)
  • “Have they at no time . . . convictions of sin, and so consequently fears that their state is dangerous?” (142).
  • “True, or right fear, is discovered by three things:
    • 1. By its rise . . .
    • 2. It driveth the soul. . .
    • 3. It begetteth . . . in the soul . . . “ (142).

See also fears “that are wrought of God” (143).

  • See also “slavish fear” and “fear of the halter” (144) & the last fear: “[H]e had a horror of mind and hearty fears that he should die in that River” (148).
vi does christian s theology advocate religious toleration
VI. Does Christian's theology advocate religious toleration?
  • By-ends: “the men before us are so rigid, and love so much their own notions, and do also so lightly esteem the opinions of others, that let a man be never so godly, yet if he jumps not with them in all things, they thrust him quite out of their company” (89).
  • Mr. Save-all: But we read of some, that are righteous over-much, and such men’s rigidness prevails with them to judge and condemn all but themelves” (89).
  • Ignorance: “Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me, I know you not, be content to follow the religion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well” (108).
  • "That is your faith, but not mine; yet mine I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you" (129).
  • What’s at stake in a birthright? (123 and note)
VII. Another way of asking the question: Bunyan is a dissenter. Does this dissenter’s epic tolerate dissent?
  • What theological ideas promote conformity?
  • Doctrine of the elect
  • The straight and narrow way
    • Digression & wandering are dangerous (errant).
    • Could a Declaration of Breda emerge from The Pilgrim’s Progress?
    • If Bunyan were in charge of politics, would there be a Clarendon code for Christians like Ignorance?
viii how can you put bunyan and hobbes on the same map
VIII. How can you put Bunyan and Hobbes on the same map?
  • How might you compare the state of sin with the State of Nature?
    • Start your thinking with Bunyan’s expression “persons in a natural condition“ and ”They are naturally out of the good way” (138).
    • What is the natural condition in Bunyan? In Hobbes?
    • What is the altered condition in each case? What is the mechanism by which one gets out of the natural condition?
ix a link between the restoration context and allegorical events
IX. A link between the Restoration context and allegorical events
  • The “perspective glass” or telescope (119)
    • What are its implications?
  • What does a perspective glass have in common with a dream vision?
  • How might they be said to belong to different worlds?
    • Compare Faithful’s saying “I did not see him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of mine understanding” (135).
x how does the ending work
X. How does the ending work?
  • Crossing over the river(147)
  • The narrative gets the pilgrims to the heavenly Jerusalem, but it doesn’t end there. Why do you think it ends with a glimpse of the road to Hell?
  • The dreamer: The dreamer is always outside the dream – looking on. Why might that be important?