cover of book

The Body in Mystery: The Political Theology of the Corpus Mysticum in the Literature of Reformation England
by Jennifer R. Rust
Northwestern University Press, 2013
Cloth: 978-0-8101-2963-4 | Paper: 978-0-8101-2931-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-6729-2
Library of Congress Classification PR428.R46R87 2013
Dewey Decimal Classification 820.382617


In The Body in Mystery, Jennifer R. Rust engages the political concept of the mystical body of the commonwealth, the corpus mysticum of the medieval church. Rust argues that the communitarian ideal of sacramental sociality had a far longer afterlife than has been previously assumed. Reviving a critical discussion of the German historian Ernst Kantorowicz’s 1957 masterwork, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology, Rust brings to bear the latest scholarship. Her book expands the representation of the corpus mysticum through a range of literary genres as well as religious polemics and political discourses. Rust reclaims the concept as an essential category of social value and historical understanding for the imaginative life of literature from Reformation England. The Body in Mystery provides new ways of appreciating the always rich and sometimes difficult continuities between the secular and sacred in early modern England, and between the premodern and early modern periods.

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