The Church as Intermediary between the Christian and the Divine in George Herbert’s Poetry: ‘God is more there, then thou’

Christopher de Warrenne Waller


This paper argues that George Herbert's 'The Temple' imagines into being a church (both building and institution) which can reconcile God and the Christian. That reconciliation is ideologically Conformist (albeit not Laudian) and opposed to radical Protestantism. Herbert insists on the sacred space of the church, and constructs his fictional 'Temple' in such a way that the experience of reading the book is akin to entering a hallowed precinct in which rite provides privileged access to the divine. Nonetheless, God's presence in the church does not exonerate Herbert's Christian from strenuous devotion.


George Herbert; Church; sacred architecture; Conformism; Sacred space; topothesia; hierotopia

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