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Latin Epics of the New TestamentJuvencus, Sedulius, Arator$
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Roger P. H. Green

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284573.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Juvencus
Latin Epics of the New Testament


Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by assembling a detailed picture of the author, based on various evidence, and this is followed by an analysis of his preface, a striking manifesto for Christian poetry. Detailed comparison of Juvencus's poetic paraphrase with the New Testament shows how carefully he planned what to include and, no less significantly, what to omit. Epic touches in style and vocabulary, and even the occasional reconfiguration of an episode, appear often, and are illustrated with specimen passages quoted in Latin and with English translation. Further sections of the chapter illustrate the poet's keen if unobtrusive awareness of theological issues, and among other things make a case for seeing an even-handed attitude towards the Jewish nation. A final section discusses the work's particular purpose in the age of Constantine, to whom Juvencus dedicates the poem.

Keywords:   New Testament, Christian poetry, epic, exegesis, Jews, Constantine

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