Double Predestination in Early English Drama
This chapter shows the emergence of double predestination theology in early modern English drama. While medieval drama generally adopted Pactum (semi-Pelagian) theological principles and made grace a combination of reward for virtue and unmerited blessing (as with the Virgin Mary), signs of single predestination thinking (as with the story of Saul becoming Paul) are also seen. Later, a fully-fledged double predestination doctrine is visible in English dramas such as the History of Iacob and Esau (c. 1557/58), The Conflict of Conscience (1581), and Doctor Faustus (c. 1588–1592). All of these plays are located at a juncture between single and double predestination thinking, and all three can be read from both perspectives—the latter approach suggesting a more radical view of the divine–human relationship and one more associated with Protestant thinking.