Abstract: In their sermons on Job 19:23–27, Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne alter, misquote, and misapply the words of their text. Critics tend to attribute such free use of the words of scripture to inexact practices of quotation in the early modern period; however, rather than demonstrate inattention to the specifics of scriptural language, preachers’ attempts to play with scriptural words often represent intense focus on the lexical features of their texts. Andrewes and Donne employ methods of misquotation in order to accommodate the textual difficulties presented by scripture, such as variant sources, conflicting translations, or linguistic lacunae in the originals. Both preachers react to the considerable divergence between available versions of this passage, and their misquotations represent deliberate attempts to provide meaningful form to difficult scriptural words. Misquotation allows preachers a means of navigating between responsibilities to scripture that could often be in conflict: that they accurately present the words of scripture to their audiences, and that they provide a clear account of their meaning.
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 3, 2014