The Poetics of Biblical Prophecy: Abiezer Coppe’s Late Converted Midrash

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter suggests that Abiezer Coppe’s biblical rhetoric can be usefully understood in terms of the rabbinic reading practice known as midrash. Nicholas McDowell treats Coppe’s rhetoric by focusing on the parody that he has detected beneath the surface of the discourse. He shows how much of what Coppe wrote anticipated the response of his academic cronies trained in the Latin Grammar of William Lily which can be described as the foundation text of the intellectual culture of early modern England. Coppe made use of Judaic materials in order to fashion and present his Ranter ideology that was a far cry from anything Jewish. Coppe’s personal shifts in belief and practice from Presbyterian beginnings and Baptist preaching to Ranter ideologue and spokesman, to prison, to an ironic recanting of his previous beliefs, all make use of biblical references and imagery to articulate and develop his views.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVarieties of Seventeenth-and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in Context
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781317002505
ISBN (Print)9780754669050
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 ariel hessayon, david finnegan and the Contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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