Literary and historical view of the charismatic figure of Moses

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Uses and Abuses of Moses: Literary Representations since the Enlightenment
by Theodore Ziolkowski —

“Is there another figure in the Bible who has been claimed, disclaimed, argued and fought over, or enlisted in as many contradictory causes as Moses? Here at last in Ziolkowski’s book we have a clear-headed, richly researched, and fluently crafted volume that casts a welcome light on an immensely important personage in history and in our collective imagination.”
Harvey Cox, author of How to Read the Bible 

In his new book, Theodore Ziolkowski offers an overview of the major literary treatments of Moses since the Enlightenment in an effort to show how his story—as leader and liberator of his people, as lawgiver, and as prophet of a monotheistic deity—has been used for over two centuries to suit a variety of ideological and cultural needs. Ziolkowski examines the various forms—dramas, poems, operas, novels, TV films, among others—by which nearly a hundred writers have filled in the many gaps in the biblical account of Moses’ life to explain his motivation as a man of emotional extremes. The result, he shows, is a figure constituting an “animate seismograph” through whose reception we can trace many of the shifts in the cultural landscape of the past two centuries.

“With Uses and Abuses of Moses: Literary Representations since the Enlightenment, Theodore Ziolkowski has delivered a magisterial account of the history of uses of Moses. Ziolkowski is the preeminent interpreter of how the Bible has been received by and has shaped modern literature; this book demonstrates an encyclopedic breadth of vision as well as a concise and convincing assessment of significance.” —John Barbour, St. Olaf College

Theodore Ziolkowski is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Princeton University. He has written and contributed to more than forty books.

Uses and Abuses of Moses: Literary Representations since the Enlightenment
Theodore Ziolkowski
Publication Date: March 30, 2016

To order:
ISBN:  978-0-268-04502-9 / Cloth $60.00 / Kindle / Nook / Kobo / iBook



Emily McKnight, University of Notre Dame Press

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