Wednesday, May 08, 2019

The pervasiveness of biblical themes

How naked would be the walls of our museums stripped of the works of art which illustrate, interpret or refer to biblical themes. How much silence there would be in our western music, from Gregorian chant to Bach, from Handel to Stravinsky and Britten if we excised settings of biblical texts, dramatizations and motifs. The same is true of western literature. Our poetry, drama, fiction would be unrecognizable if we omitted the continuous presence of the Bible. Nor is there any categorical way of delineating that presence. It extends from the immense volume of biblical paraphrase to the most tangential or covert of allusions.—George Steiner, No Passion Spent, page 82

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