Bunyan's Gospel: the theological role of Mr. Ignorance in the Pilgrim's Progress

Myers, Benjamin (2003) Bunyan's Gospel: the theological role of Mr. Ignorance in the Pilgrim's Progress. Reformed Theological Review, 62 (1). pp. 29-38.

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Abstract

[Extract] Although The Pilgrim's Progress has long enjoyed canonical status as a general religious allegory, the fact that it is first and for most an allegory of Reformation theology is too often neglected. Bunyan's theology, which is well-documented in his large corpus of doctrinal works, centres consistently on the distinctive features of Reformation soteriology. With this soteriology The Pilgrim's Progress in general, and the Ignorance scenes in particular, are also principally concerned. The precision of Bunyan's theological argument is clear in the portrayal of the various pilgrims in the narrative, and in their eventual condemnation or reward. In addition to good pilgrims like Christian, Faithful and Hopeful, who illustrate the true way of salvation, Bunyan also draws into his allegory a number of false pilgrims, such as Timorous, Talkative and Worldly Wiseman, whose role it is to clarify and warn against the many false ways of salvation. Ignorance, who occupies three scenes towards the end of The Pilgrim's Progress, is initially presented in a more sympathetic light than the other false pilgrims, but is finally condemned like the rest. Of the whole array of false pilgrims, Ignorance is the most theologically complex, and thus also the mos susceptible of misunderstanding, as the critical response to his portrayal demonstrates.

Item ID: 13814
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Australian literature; religious literature; theology
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ISSN: 0034-3072
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 00:26
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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