The worldview of King Lear
King Lear is set in an ancient, pagan Britain long before the advent of Christianity. Many characters in the play refer to supernatural agencies, believing that they are responsible in different ways for the things that occur in nature and to human beings. These powers variously control events and influence people’s characters.
At the same time Shakespeare was writing at the start of the seventeenth century as the forces of Renaissance humanism
were gaining ground. Instead of measuring behaviour against the absolutes of faith, humanists adopted the relativism first espoused by a rediscovered ancient Greek philosopher (Protagoras), that ‘man is the measure of all things.’ Many critics see King Lear
as an exploration of what a truly humanistic world might look like, devoid of a coherent faith system.
In order to create such a world, Shakespeare alludes to a mish-mash of beliefs, which contradict each other and are often inconsistent.
In Act 2 Scene 2 Kent refers to the goddess Fortune
after he has been placed in the stocks and invokes her to ‘turn [her] wheel’. People in Shakespeare’s day would have been very familiar with the image of Fortune and her wheel, since the idea had been around since classical antiquity. In his Consolation of Philosophy Boethius
(480-524 AD) describes Fortune’s wheel as something which raises up the lowly and sends the proud crashing to the ground.
art Fortune’s wheel was often depicted as having a hopeful character carried up on one side of the wheel. At the top was another wearing a crown. On the way down, on the wheel’s other side a third character was usually shown in rags, falling off - whilst a fourth was traditionally shown on the ground, cast down to the lowest point. Commonly there was a Latin inscription under each character, of particular relevance to King Lear
- ‘Regnabo’ (I shall reign)
- ‘Regno’ (I reign)
- ‘Regnavi’ (I have reigned’)
- ‘Sum sine regno’ (I am without sovereign power).
Edmund too refers to his changed fortunes at the end of the play when he says, ‘The wheel is come full circle.’ The concept of Fortune’s Wheel simply but powerfully conveyed life’s uncertainties, warning the proud and powerful that they were vulnerable to losing all they had – at the same time as encouraging the poor and powerless that their luck could change.
In Act 1 Scene 2 Gloucester ascribes all recent bad things, such as treason, broken family relationships and civil disorder, to ‘These late eclipses in the sun and moon.’ Such beliefs were prominent in Shakespeare’s day – indeed the late Queen Elizabeth regularly consulted her royal astrologer, Dr John Dee.
The reason that eclipses were thought to be particularly unlucky is that they appeared to go against the ‘natural order’. An eclipse of the sun, for instance, resulted in the disordered confusion of the day and night. People also believed that such a disorder in nature had a meaning for human beings too, since the planetary bodies were believed to influence people’s behaviour.
Gloucester believes that it is natural for a son to honour his father. Not to do so goes against the rules of nature. It is a sign of Gloucester’s credulousness that he immediately starts thinking that eclipses must be to blame as soon as Edmund sows in his mind suspicions about Edgar’s treacherous behaviour.
In Act 4 Scene 3 Kent thinks that only astrological force can explain the differences between Cordelia and her sisters;
It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and make could not beget
Such different issues.
He expresses disbelief that the same two marriage partners could produce offspring with such wildly different characteristics. The influence of the stars at the time of birth must have been responsible.
Albany is convinced (Act 5 Scene 3) that the deaths of Goneril and Regan are ‘a judgement of the heavens’, just as he thinks that Cornwall’s fatal wound at the hands of the servant is proof that the heavenly ‘justicers’ really do exist and take vengeance for ‘our nether crimes’.
Gloucester (Act 4 Scene 6) prays to the ‘mighty gods’ saying that it is futile to try to battle against their ‘opposeless wills’. That is, whatever the gods want they get and it is impossible for humans to oppose them.
Characters tend to invoke the gods whenever they need divine help:
- In Act 1 Scene 2 Edmund wants the gods to ‘stand up for bastards’
- Kent prays that the gods will shelter the banished Cordelia (Act 1 Scene 1)
- Lear prays that ‘the stored vengeances of heaven’ will fall on the ‘ingrateful top’ of Goneril (Act 2 Scene 4)
- In Act 3 Scene 2 Lear says, ‘Let the great gods … Find out their enemies now’, believing that those who have offended the gods by their misdeeds will not be able to conceal their terror in a storm which they will see as directed against them.
However, despite all these references to the power of the gods, there is also much scepticism in the play. Edmund mocks his father’s belief in the supernatural in Act 1 Scene 2, saying that it merely provides human beings with an excuse for wrongdoings which are entirely their own fault:
An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star.
Just or cruel?
The gods seem to be all things to all men, and the play as a whole makes no final judgement. For some characters, in some situations, they are just, gentle and bountiful. For others they are indifferent to human affairs, except when human beings offend them by particularly repellent behaviour, when they can take revenge in a way that ‘makes us tremble’ (Albany on the deaths of Goneril and Regan in Act 5 Scene 3).
For Gloucester in Act 4 Scene 1 the gods are simply sadistic, doling out cruelty for their own pleasure:
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,
They kill us for their sport.
Humanism played out
During Shakespeare’s lifetime there were a number of discoveries of New World lands, which entailed an encounter with the non-Christian beliefs of native peoples. King Lear could be said to be a translation of this (perceived) ‘godlessness’ into the British realm. What happens to humanity when it is freed of orthodox moral values?
Edmund is an exemplum of the ‘self-made man’, fuelled by the Machiavellian
principles of pragmatism and expediency. With Cornwall, Goneril and Regan he also represents an outworking of the humanistic idea that ‘might is right’. These characters allow no conventional morality to constrain their ambition for power. When Albany describes such behaviour as ‘barbarous’ and ‘degenerate!’, he is castigated as being a ‘Milk-livered man’ and then described in terms that Shakespeare’s audience would have recognised as part of the iconography
: ‘That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs.’ (Act 4 Scene 2)
Shakespeare’s Christian world
For Shakespeare’s contemporary audience all these pagan references would have been measured against Christian
values and beliefs and the play abounds in language which acts as a bridge between the world of the play and the world in which the play was written and received.
People of Shakespeare’s time would have believed that kings ruled by divine right
or by the ‘grace of God’ (see Divine right of monarchs
) and that the kings themselves would have had the gift of grace to bestow on their subjects.
All kings were believed to possess the quality of grace. As the Fool says whilst pointing to Lear, ‘Here’s grace.’ When Lear banishes Cordelia ‘without our grace’, she acknowledges that she no longer ‘stands within his grace’. Meanwhile, Kent is Lear’s representative and by putting him in the stocks, Cornwall is offending against the king’s ‘grace’.
Cordelia is so full of ‘grace’ that many readers of the play have commented on her Christ
- She forgives those who have ‘sinned’ against her (Colossians 3:13)
- When she returns from France she is referred to as an angel, and as someone who has redemptive powers
- Like Jesus she seems to be the epitome of grace. When she hears of what has happened to her father she grieves, shaking ‘The holy water from her heavenly eyes’.
- In Act 4 Scene 4 she declares ‘O dear father, / It is thy business that I go about’ echoing the words of the boy Jesus in Luke 2:49: ‘Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?’ KJB
- Lear refers to Cordelia as ‘a soul in bliss’ in sharp contrast to himself who he thinks of as a dead sinner ‘bound upon a wheel of fire’.
- In Act 5 Lear tells Cordelia that he will kneel down to ask her ‘forgiveness’ so that together they will be ‘God’s spies’
- Lear acknowledges the huge sacrifice that his daughter has made and declares, ‘Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, / The gods themselves throw incense.’ The parallel with Christ’s sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2) would have been obvious to Shakespeare’s audiences
- In Act 4 Scene 6 a gentleman comments that Cordelia ‘redeems nature from the general curse / Which twain have brought her to.’ There is a similarity here with the concept of Christ’s redemption of humankind from the sin of Adam and Eve and the curse which their disobedience in Eden brought upon all human beings (see Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, 'Second Adam')
- When Lear carries in the dead Cordelia at the end of the play the stage image is very reminiscent of the traditional Christian representation of the Pietà, a painting or sculpture of Mary the Mother of Jesus holding her dead son in her arms after he had been taken down from the Cross.
Parallels with Jesus should not, however, be taken too far. In Cordelia’s case there is no miracle of resurrection.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! 15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation 31that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. 33And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. 36And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. 41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress. 49And he said to them, Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house? 50And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not become partners with them; 8for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Term applied to those who are not Christian, particularly followers of the classical religion of Greece and Rome and of the pre-Christian religions of Europe.
The beliefs, doctrines and practices of Christians.
Renaissance is literally 're-birth'. The term describes the movement, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries originating from Italy, where new areas of art, poetry, scholarship and architecture emerged.
A worldview which developed from the Renaissance period onward, placing the values and concerns of humanity at the centre of its observations.
a power believed to randomly distribute good and bad fortunes
c. A.D. 480-524 advocated justice for the poor which aroused his enemies, who accused him of high treason
Belonging to the Middle Ages.
supposedly in keeping with the views of the Italian writer and politician Machiavelli (1469 - 1527)
1. A pictorial representation.
2. The study of the subject matter of images used in art.
Title (eventually used as name) given to Jesus, refering to an anointed person set apart for a special task such as a king.
Name originally given to disciples of Jesus by outsiders and gradually adopted by the Early Church.
Undeserved favour. The Bible uses this term to describe God's gifts to human beings.
The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe.
In the Bible, salvation is seen as God's commitment to save or rescue his people from sin (and other dangers) and to establish his kingdom.
Someone who disobeys God's will by their actions or failure to act. The Bible regards all human beings as predisposed to sin.
The giving of divine favour by God which can be in material or spiritual terms; declaration of God's favour; the act of giving thanks to God.
The belief that the authority of a king / monarch comes directly from God, taken by some kings to mean that they were above the law of the land and to disobey them was to disobey God / sin.
Title (eventually used as name) given to Jesus, refering to an anointed person set apart for a special task such as a king.
Supernatural beings closely linked with the work of God; his messengers, traditionally portrayed as having a winged human form.
Literally, to 'redeem' is to 'buy back'. In Christian belief, the redemption of humanity was achieved by Jesus who in his death on the cross made a complete sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The spirit which gives life to a human being; the part which lives on after death; a person's inner being (personality, intellect, emotions and will) which distinguishes them from animals.
In Christian belief, the redemption of humanity was achieved by Jesus who in his death on the cross made a complete sacrifice sufficient to pay for the sins of the world.
Disobedience to the known will of God. According to Christian theology human beings have displayed a pre-disposition to sin since the Fall of Humankind.
According to Genesis (the first book of the Old Testament), Adam is the first human being, made in the image / likeness of God, placed in the Garden of Eden and given dominion over the earth.
According to the book of Genesis in the Bible the first woman, said to have been created by God out of Adam's rib, to be his companion.
Calling on / use of supernatural power to bring trouble or harm to something / someone.
The place described in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, in which God placed his first human creatures, Adam and Eve. It is depicted as a beautiful garden, often also called Paradise.
In Christian art, a sculpture or painting of the Virgin Mary holding the crucified body of Jesus.
The mother of Jesus. The Gospels state that Mary's pregnancy was brought about by the Holy Spirit and not through a human relationship; she is therefore known as the 'Virgin'.
The name given to the man believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Also given the title Christ, meaning 'anointed one' or Messiah. His life is recorded most fully in the Four Gospels.
1. Instrument of execution used in the Roman Empire.
2. The means by which Jesus Christ was put to death and therefore the primary symbol of the Christian faith, representing the way in which he is believed to have won forgiveness for humankind.