The Poets' Jesus: Representations at the End of a Millennium

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Poets have always been the medium through which a culture talks of, and to, its gods. Now, in this learned but lively commentary, Peggy Rosenthal shows us the astonishing range of poetic encounters with Jesus. With a special emphasis on twentieth-century poetry, Rosenthal draws from an unprecedented range of world poetry—from Africa, the Arab world, and the Far East to Latin America and the West—to give readers an understanding of how different times and different cultures have affected the way poets refigure Jesus and of how poets' fascination with the man from Nazareth transcends all barriers. She also demonstrates that, despite the twentieth century's self-definition as a secular and post-Christian epoch, it has produced poetry about Jesus of truly surprising quality and variety. Impeccably researched and extremely accessible, The Poets Jesus will strongly appeal to scholars of poetry and religion as well as for all general readers of poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[The Poets' Jesus] is a short, reader-friendly account of how poets have rendered Jesus, primarily from the 19th century to the present. This book is also, in passing, a swift overview of the last two centuries of Christian theology and Western culture." —Peter Steinfels, The New York Times

"Rosenthal's range is ambitious.... [Her] arguments are convincing, her examples compelling and her knowledge of contemporary poets impressive. Her clear prose style and her avoidance of the distancing parlance of current literary theory make this a valuable study not only for the scholar of literature but for the general reader who would like to see the old familiars in a fresh context and, in the process, be introduced to new and provocative images of Jesus."—Christian Century

"As I read the book, I rejoiced, I bounced in my steps, I flung out hosannas.... With a keen sense of each poet's intellectual and theological context, Rosenthal not only probes the religious imagination but also studies—from obviously fresh sources—the history of theology and the history of belief.... The Poets' Jesus is brilliant in taking two limited areas—poetry and the figure of Jesus—and turning their intersection into a grand survey of intellectual history and the history of belief.... The subtitle is apt; for reading, for thinking, even for meditating, The Poets' Jesus is a millennial book."—Joseph J. Feeney, America

"[The Poets' Jesus] engagingly proceeds more like a Cook's tour than an academic inquiry. Rosenthal has many of the qualities that one wants in a tour guide: she is... well informed...; she is articulate; and she loves her subject.... [In] the figure of Jesus in mid and late twentieth-century world poetry...especially, she is an engaging, stimulating guide."—Christianity and Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195131147
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Pages: 208
  • Lexile: 1370L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peggy Rosenthal has taught courses on poetry and spirituality at St. Bernards Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology and at Wheaton College. Her previous books include Words and Values and Divine Inspiration.

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Table of Contents

1. Jesus as Christ and More: The First Eighteen Centuries
2. Jesus as Romantic Hero
3. Sliding into Modernism: Jesus Pale and Shrunken
4. Crisis of the Secularized West: Postmodernism's Jesus as Anti-Hero
5. Crucified Africa: The Politicized Jesus of Africa and Beyond
6. Archetypal Christ: Arabic Poetry and other Wastelands
7. Jesus Absent
8. Between Absence and Presence: Playing Around with Jesus
9. Jesus Present

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