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Title: Ecclesia, Anima and Spiritual Priesthood in Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
Authors: D'Arcy, Anne Marie
First Published: 12-Aug-2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Review of English Studies, 2015, 66 (276): 634-654
Abstract: It has frequently been suggested that Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum challenges the Anglican consensus that women could not participate in the priesthood. This article argues that the poem is compatible with Anglican orthodoxy. Lanyer is careful to present the authority of the Church as inhering not immediately in her patron, Margaret Clifford, but in Clifford's soul, which is an allegorical personification of the Church as the bride of Christ. This representation of Clifford draws upon the Song of Songs and the veneration of Mary as a spiritual priest, descended from the line of Aaron. By projecting the spiritual priesthood of Mary as the Church, who is the bride of Christ, onto Clifford’s soul, Lanyer presents Mary’s spiritual priesthood as open to her female readers. This distinguishes her concept of Mary's spiritual priesthood from contemporary Roman Catholic traditions, where the unique nature of the Virgin’s sacerdotal role is particularly associated with her Immaculate Conception. However, Lanyer treads a careful line in relation to the highly contentious matter of the ecclesiological role of women in the Church of England. Anglican apologists maintained that a woman might hold civil, if not spiritual, jurisdiction as a monarch; Roman Catholic polemicists, on the other hand, argued that the Elizabethan Act of Supremacy was heretical. Anglicans were frequently derided as Peputiani—a pejorative term ascribed to Montanists who held that women could participate in Church government—in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century polemic. Through adroit use of sapiential and Mariological imagery, Lanyer sidesteps these controversies concerning Church government. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press 2015; all rights reserved
DOI Link: 10.1093/res/hgv053
ISSN: 0034-6551
eISSN: 1471-6968
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press 2015; all rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Review of English Studies following peer review. The version of record Review of English Studies (2015) 66 (276): 634-654. is available online at: doi: 10.1093/res/hgv053
Description: The file associated with this record is under a 24-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy, available at The full text may be available in the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of English

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