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Series:

Bob Godfrey

Abstract

From the story of the Epiphany in Matthew’s Gospel this chapter offers a brief account of the evolution of Christian attitudes to Herod the Great and how the slaughtered Innocents became subjects of devotional attention, the first martyrs for Christ. Taking then a variety of examples of how the story of the Epiphany captured the imagination of Christian poets and liturgical and religious playmakers the discussion proceeds to an examination of two plays from the Towneley collection, The Offering of the Magi and Magnus Herodes. Focussing on the character of Herod as presented there it is shown how his character can be interpreted as both violently threatening and yet obviously absurd. This ambivalence is brought out most strongly in Magnus Herodes where the Wakefield Master skilfully manages audience reception to see Herod as a character in a play, an entertainment in his own right, as much as a target for Christian vindictiveness. Herod’s envoi in the Towneley play is cheeky since it foregrounds the character’s humanity as against his culpability. In comparison with other examples this playwright seems to have been reluctant to join the almost universal moralising and condemnation of Herod in favour of a perfectly theatrical outcome.


Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

.” 1 It is this last mode of reading Scripture among early Christians that will be the concern of the present book. The identification of Israel’s LORD with the “Lord Jesus,” supported exegetically by the latter’s identification as the subject of biblical theophanies such as those discussed in the

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

hands of the prophets”) are consulted as the two seemingly opposed theological authorities— videtur and sed contra , as it were—on the subject of divine revelation. Chrysostom’s synthesis is to distinguish between God as οὐσία, which, indeed, “no one has ever seen,” and God in his “condescension” or

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

subject of Sinai/Horeb with that of Tabor. This identification is made explicit elsewhere, when Anastasius specifies the content of Moses’ vision on Tabor by appealing to Exodus 3 and 33. Although already quoted in the previous chapter, this text bears repetition: Now I have seen you, the truly existing

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

the Subject of the prophecy are referred to, the Divine and the Human. 15 Later writers, such as Theodoret of Cyrus and Maximus the Confessor, followed the same reading, while also making note of the general diversity of opinions in the exegesis of Hab 3:2. People have interpreted this matter in

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

is to examine the various exegetical and theological avenues taken by early Christian interpreters in their reflection on the subject of the theophany at the burning bush. Evidently, there are many other considerations put forth by Jewish and Christian writers of the early centuries, which must be

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

be deciphered as a reference to the perceptible world, which has no free motion of its own but which is subject to the ruler of the universe, who takes his stand upon it, regulating and directing it in his wisdom. 14 4 The Footstool: Early Christian Exegesis Justin Martyr’s treatment of Psalms 98

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

replacing the disciples’ faulty understanding of τὰ περὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζαρηνοῦ (24:19) with Jesus’ own revelation of τὰ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ (24:27); (3) that entering the Scriptures to contemplate Jesus as their subject requires entering a relation of discipleship (or, in our text, recuperating it) through a

Series:

Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

Isaiah 6 and the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 are similarly “exalted and lifted up,” and the Evangelist connects both with Jesus lifted up upon the cross (John 8:28). As a commentator observes, at John 12:41 [t]he neuter plural ταῦτα (“these things”) links the subject of Isaiah’s vision of glory to