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Do you know of biblical allusions in literature?I need to find 3 biblical allusions in...

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mollybattleson | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:06 PM via web

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Do you know of biblical allusions in literature?

I need to find 3 biblical allusions in literature...

The Last Supper

Lost Sheep

Psalm 23

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 16, 2010 at 5:02 PM (Answer #2)

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I like Psalm 23 as personified in the Valley of Ashes in The Great Gatsby. I don't know if Fitzgerald intended the allusion, but because it is a Valley of Ashes, it reminds me of the part of Psalm 23 that says:

4 Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, 
for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
they comfort me.

Each time characters go through the valley to get to New York, it is as if darkness occurs there. Tom maintains the beginning of his sin there. The ultimate evil of murder is committed there and without a flinch. Also, the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg watch over this valley and they feel like the eyes of God. Yet, our narrator, the point of view from which we see the story is continually unscathed by this valley. He goes through the darkness and watches others suffer, but Nick never endures their complete and total sin or pain. Thus, he is comforted...

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shanaa | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:39 PM (Answer #3)

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IN THE POEM 'ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE'BY JOHN KEATS,HE SAYS'

THROUGH THE SAD HEART OF RUTH,WHEN SHE SICK FOR HOME,

SHE STOOD IN TEARS AMID THE ALIEN CORN;

THERE IS A FOLK TALE IN OLD TESTAMENT NAMED 'RUTH'.DURING A FAMINE,A FAMILY IN BETHLEHEM,WENT TO MOAB TO TAKE REFUGE.SONS OF THIS FAMILY MARRIED MOABIAN WOMEN.THESE SONS DIED AND THE MOTHER NAOMI RETURNED TO BETHLEHEM.ONE WIFE OF A DEAD SON,A DAUGHTR-IN-LAW OF NAOMI,NAMED RUTH-A MOABIAN WOMAN,INSISTED THAT SHE ALSO BE TAKEN TO BETHLEHEM,RUTH,THE MOABIAN WOMAN,BEGAN TO GLEAN CORN OF BARLEY LEFT BY THE REAPERS IN THE FIELDS OF BOAZ WHO WAS A DISTANT RELATION OF HER FATHER-IN-LAW.BOAZ WAS A JEW BUT RUTH'S KINDNESS AND DEVOTION ATTRACTED BOAZ,AND HE MARRIED RUTH.SHE BECAME THE GREAT GRAND MOTHER OF KING DAVID.THE BIBLE STORY DOES NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT RUTH BEINGHOME-SICK.THIS WAS WHAT KEATS THOUGHT ABOUT RUTH.

 

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:44 AM (Answer #4)

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Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" makes reference to Psalm 23 in the first stanza:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Tennyson wrote this poem after reading an article in the London Times about the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War.  The original audience would have been familiar with this battle and known that these soldiers in the opening of the poem were charging into certain death.  The reference to the "valley of Death," (as in, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...") suggests that this charge into death is one taken on courage that can only come through faith.

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 12, 2011 at 5:49 PM (Answer #5)

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Milton's Paradise Lost is loaded with Biblical allusions. The opening lines allude to the Genesis story: "Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit / Of that Forbidden Tree." Line 5 alludes to a hope of a restoration to the Paradise of the Garden of Eden: "and regain the blissful Seat." Line 8 alludes to the New Testament title for Jesus as the Good Shepherd: "That Shepherd." Interestingly, after this start, Milton switches to Classical allusions when he alludes to the pagan construct of Chaos and trades Mt. Sion for the classical favorite of gods, Mt. Parnassus, in line 10: "Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill."

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