John Donne about order, obedience and preaching

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. History. 2013

John Donne about order, obedience and preaching

About the author:

Sergey V. Kondratiev,
Dr. Hist. Sci., Director of Institute for the Humanities, Tyumen State University


The High Church, clergies and royal power in Pre-revolutionary England were concerned with free and unlimited preaching. The article is focused on the sermon preached by John Donne in 1622 which supported the Royal policy aimed to bound preaching as a tool of verbal communication with parishioners. John Donne, following King James I, calls upon to use the catechism consisting of 39 articles and the two books of Homilies. Donne is standing up for the existing order and calls the subjects for obedience. In his sermon John Donne touched upon the 20th verse of Chapter 5, Book of Judges, which was the beginning point of his next discourse. The preacher and poet describes in details his understanding of the concept of order. He was for uniformity in the sphere of faith and worship. John Donne emphasized that the order implied the unity of the head and members, the King and subjects, the ruler and parishioners based on the obedience to decrees of power.


1. Kondrat'ev, S.V. Anglijskaja revoljucija XVII veka [The English Revolution of the XVII century]. M., 2010 (in Russian).

2. Zaller, R. Discourse of Legitimacy in Early Modern England. Stanford, 2007.

3. Sommerville, J.P. Royalist and Patriots. Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640. London, 1999.

4. King James VI and I and Political Writings /Ed. by J.P. Sommerville. Cambridge,1994.

5. Tyacke, N.R.N. Aspects of English Protestantism. 1530-1640. Manchester, 2002.

6. Directions Concerning Preachers (1622) // Documents Illustrative of English Church History /Ed. by H. Gee and W.J. Hardly. New York, 1896.

7. Kondratev, S.V. Kings can do everything, kings can do everything …?» (Theory and practice in prerevolutionary England) III. Robert Sibtorp’s voice. Evropa. Mezhdunarodnyj al'manah — Europe. International Almanac. Tyumen, 2010. No. IX. Р. 22-29 (in Russian).

8. Colclough, D. John Donne’s Professional Lives. Cambridge, 2003.

9. Littlemore V. Political Theology of John Donne // Theological Studies. 1988,Vol. 49.

10. Donne, J. A Sermon upon XX verse of the V Chapter of the Book of Judges. London, 1622.