St Augustine and the Devil’s ‘Mousetrap’

in Vigiliae Christianae
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Modern scholars and translators have in recent years increasingly emphasised the etymological sense of the word muscipula, particularly in the phrase muscipula diaboli, as used by St Augustine and other early Patristic writers. I consider the evidence from a range of Augustine’s writings, and from within the Vetus Latina scriptures themselves, to question whether translating muscipula as ‘mousetrap’ best serves our understanding of Augustine’s intended meaning.

St Augustine and the Devil’s ‘Mousetrap’

in Vigiliae Christianae



Jacques BerchtoldDes rats et des ratières: Anamorphoses d’un champ métaphorique de saint Augustin à Jean Racine (Geneva: Droz1992) pp. 21-56 esp. pp. 28-31 36.


Meyer Shapiro‘“Muscipula Diaboli”, the Symbolism of the Mérode Altarpiece’Art Bulletin 27 (1945) 182-87.


Linda MunkThe Devil’s Mousetrap: Redemption and Colonial American Literature (New York / Oxford: Oxford University Press1997) pp. 3-23.

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