The Bible and Its Rewritings

Synopsis

Piero Boitani discusses how some of the most fascinating scenes of Old and New Testament -- Genesis, Exodus, Job, the Susanna story, the Gospel of John -- are directly or indirectly rewritten in works ranging from the medieval period to the late twentieth-century: by Milton and Mann; by Chaucer, Dryden, La Fontaine, Orwell, and Kafka; by Faulkner and Tournier; by Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, and Joseph Roth. Literature resonates with the mystery of recognition between human beings, and between God and humankind. The opening and closing chapters of the book examine this theme: from Abraham and Yahweh at Mamre to Joseph and his brothers, from Helen and Menelaus to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, from Pericles and Marina to Mendel Singer and his son Menuchim. The three central sections of the book discuss the means by which re-scripturing interprets the Scriptures: through truth or fiction; through letter or allegory; through liturgy, exegesis, catacomb frescoes, even churches themselves. This is an illuminating look at the Bible and its medieval and modern rewritings.