Jesus in Literature
This course will survey ways in which Jesus has been represented in English literature in major works from the Middle Ages to the end of the twentieth century. We will look at direct representations of Jesus, and at indirect representations through embodiments of aspects of Jesus’s character and work in "Christ-figures." We will also consider ways in which such motifs as "incarnation," "kenosis," "atonement," "death and resurrection" have been assimilated into literary art. Noting the compelling centrality of Jesus in Western literature of the past, we will be interested in the range of roles assigned to him, from victim to conquering king. We will find Jesus represented (even if in sometimes contorted forms or signal absences) in literature of the "post-Christian" late twentieth century. Surveying literature from this perspective will provide you with an unusual overview of literature, creating opportunities for critical evaluation of the literature, for theological reflection on Christology and the gospel, and for devotional contemplation of the One in whom "all things hold together," including a great deal of literature in English.