By Angela T. McAuliffe
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Extra info for Between the Temple and the Cave: The Religious Dimensions of the Poetry of E.J. Pratt
102 Encouraged to continue his studies, he assisted with pastoral work around Toronto, and kept himself by tutoring and part-time teaching in psychology. By 1917 he had fulfilled the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, among them a thesis which, while reflecting attitudes and approaches established in his earlier work, is a much more prodigious feat of scholarship. In his doctoral dissertation, Studies in Pauline Eschatology and Its Background,10^ Pratt examines the development of Jewish eschatological thought and its bearing on the outlook of Paul (6).
98 He then asked to be transferred from the Newfoundland Conference of the Methodist Church to the newly founded Alberta Conference. The opening up of the west with its prospect of new mission fields had already attracted a number of volunteers from Newfoundland, which was abundantly supplied with Methodist preachers. Pratt's summers had given him a chance to see the west, and to consider the prospect of life there, but his request, which was granted, according to the Minutes of the 2gth Newfoundland Conference Sessions (8), suggests perhaps more than anything else a determination not to return to Newfoundland for ordination.
He surveys the anthropological and historical background, and the literary sources, scriptural evidence, and theological attitudes, before arriving at his own conjectural yet rhetorically effective conclusion. Since access to the complete thesis is limited and since it remains an interesting literary essay, a synopsis may prove helpful to a clearer understanding of Pratt, the poet. At the beginning of "The Demonology of the Synoptics in Its Relation to Earlier Developments and to the Mind of Christ,"92 Pratt notes that an examination of the religious life of primitive races today reveals the universal belief that both physical nature and human life are under supernatural control.
Between the Temple and the Cave: The Religious Dimensions of the Poetry of E.J. Pratt by Angela T. McAuliffe