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Joseph in Egypt: A Cultural Icon from Grotius to Goethe

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The biblical story of Joseph ranks in the history of world literature alongside 'The Odyssey' and other ancient legends as a seminal canonical text and has provided rich material for later writers to imitate and elaborate. This book, by Bernhard Lang, an internationally acclaimed biblical scholar, examines the many and varied ways that the story of Joseph has been interpreted in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. During that time, Joseph was heralded as an icon by many different writers and thinkers, among them Henry Fielding, Voltaire, Chateaubriand and Goethe. Educators commended Joseph as a model of piety, moralists extolled him in defense of chastity, and political philosophers regarded him as an exemplary leader; historians debated variously whether he was a benefactor, tyrant, or merely a character in a well-told ancient oriental tale. Lang examines a range of texts - novels, stage plays, poems, children's books and critical treatises - to illuminate the debt each owes to earlier versions of the Joseph story. In doing so, he presents a masterful, sensitive, and highly readable account of the early modern world.

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Additional Information

Additional Information

Author Bernhard Lang
Binding Hardback
Condition New
Pages 336
ISBN-13 9780300151565
Publisher Yale University Press


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