Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry by Isabel Rivers

By Isabel Rivers

A brand new advent and an absolutely up-to-date bibliography make the second one variation of this verified textual content an crucial source for college kids and academics of English poetry.

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Such worship of the gods is the best of all things, full of purity and holiness and piety, if our reverence is always true and whole and pure in word and thought. It was not only the philosophers but also our own ancestors who thus distinguished between true religion and the follies of superstition. Cicero The Nature of the Gods II 70–1 3 It is impossible to conceive of [natural objects] as being gods in themselves; for God is not senseless nor inanimate nor subject to human control. As a result of this we have come to regard as gods those who make use of these things and present them to us and provide us with things everlasting and constant.

Isis gathered the fragments together. ) 17 The fact is that the creation and constitution of this world is complex, resulting, as it does, from opposing influences, which, however, are not of equal strength, but the predominance rests with the better. Yet it is impossible for the bad to be completely eradicated, since it is innate, in large amount, in the body and likewise in the soul of the universe, and is always fighting a hard fight against the better. So in the soul intelligence and reason, the ruler and lord of all that is good, is Osiris, and in earth and wind and water and the heavens and stars that which is ordered, established, and healthy, as evidenced by seasons, temperatures, and cycles of revolution, is the efflux of Osiris and his reflected image.

Sandys’ commentary on the Metamorphoses is a more traditional compendium of physical, historical and moral interpretation (8, 14). An eccentric but highly illuminating handbook is Alexander THE PAGAN GODS 25 Ross’s Mystagogus Poeticus (a mystagogue is an initiator into religious mysteries). Ross briefly relates each myth, then gives a long list of interpretations, physical, historical, moral, political and religious (5, 7, 12). He always concludes with a specifically Christian interpretation; almost all the pagan gods and heroes are seen as types of Christ.

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