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Clément Marot and Religion

A Re-assessment in the Light of his Psalm Paraphrases

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Dick Wursten

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.