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Unknowing Fanaticism – Reformation Literatures of Self-Annihilation - Fordham Scholarship Online
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Unknowing Fanaticism: Reformation Literatures of Self-Annihilation

Ross Lerner


We may think we know what defines religious fanaticism: violent action undertaken with dogmatic certainty. But the term “fanatic,” from the European Reformation to today, has never been a stable term. Then and now it has been reductively defined to justify state violence and to delegitimize alternative sources of authority. Unknowing Fanaticism rejects the simplified binary of fanatical religion and rational politics and turns to Renaissance literature to demonstrate that fanaticism was integral to how both modern politics and poetics developed, from the German Peasant Revolts of the 1520s to ... More

Keywords: Donne John, fanaticism, Hobbes Thomas, Milton John, new formalism, poetics, political theology, religion, Spenser Edmund, terrorism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780823283873
Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020 DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823283873.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ross Lerner, author
Occidental College