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God's poetic bureaucrat. Administrating salvation in Prudentius' lyric work

Klassen, N. (2018) God's poetic bureaucrat. Administrating salvation in Prudentius' lyric work. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Hardly any study of Prudentius' poetry does not mention his occupation as a lawyer and governor in the Late Roman Empire - not least because it is among the sparse personal information we have on the poet. However, so far nobody has systematically investigated in which ways this background actually influenced Prudentius' poetry. My thesis analyses how Prudentius' lyric works - the poems of the Peristephanon and Cathemerinon - use elements from the world of the Late Roman administration to help the reader who is familiar with this world to grasp the Christian truth of salvation in a way that is intuitive and engaging. The thesis begins by demonstrating that elements from the imperial administration add an innovative field of imagery to the poems in addition to more common fields such as nature. On a more complex level, the poems apply principles and values characteristic for the administration to highlight aspects of the Christian truth. This leads the thesis to reveal on a fundamental level how the poems present the Christian concept of salvation as the organising principle of their understanding of the world. Based on this new paradigm of understanding, the poems give specific advice to their readers about how to live as a Christian in the material world which this thesis shows to be at the heart of the poetics of asceticism that form the basis of Prudentius' poetry.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Pollmann, K. and Papaconstantinou, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanities
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Classics
ID Code:82390

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