Clément Marot and Religion

A Re-assessment in the Light of his Psalm Paraphrases


Famous mainly for his chansons and epigrams, the French poet Clément Marot (1496-1544) also supplied the texts for the Huguenot Psalter. Did he only paraphrase the Psalms to do Marguerite de Navarre, the leading lady of reform-oriented France, a favour, or was there more to it? This book offers a new approach to this question, which has got stuck in a yes-no discussion. A breakthrough is forced by the author’s focussing on the Psalm paraphrases themselves, which until now have never actually been included in Marot research.
Analysed from a multidisciplinary perspective the successive versions of these paraphrases reveal that Marot was interested in reaching a consistent, literary, and historically reliable versification of the Psalms, thus implicitly questioning the traditional christological exegesis. The author’s perusal of Jewish exegetical insights (Kimhi, Ibn Ezra) in Martin Bucer’s Commentary shows where Marot acquired a satisfactory hermeneutical framework.

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Dick Wursten (1960), PhD in Church History, VU University Amsterdam (2009), is active on the interface between theology, history, and culture (especially poetry and music), with a preference for early sixteenth-century France. He lives in Antwerp and in daily life works for the religious education inspection in Flanders.
“a major contribution to Marot studies”
(François Rigolot, Princeton)

“What Dick Wursten offers in this detailed and closely argued study is an integrated investigation of the output of this important sixteenth-century poet […]. Wursten […] evaluates Marot’s religion as being much more theologically nuanced than is generally understood ”.
Robin A. Leaver, Yale. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2012), pp. 816-817.
All those interested in French Renaissance literature, Church history of the sixteenth century, the Huguenot Psalter, and the history of the exegesis and hermeneutics of the Psalter, mainly the influence of Jewish exegesis in the early stages of the Reformation.
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