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Notes On Divesting And Vesting In The Hymn Of The Pearl

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Chapter Summary

The first section of this chapter is a survey of recent interpretation of the boy's clothing in The Hymn of the Pearl. The second makes a new suggestion about the robe, one that reflects the likely Edessan and Syriac origin of the ballad. The true meaning of the clothing, and of the Hymn as a whole, can then become a universal metaphor for humanity's catastrophic descent into the material world of alienation and reascent into the tranquil world of the spirit. Perhaps to the list of possible contexts of, and allusions in, the Hymn of the Pearl should be added the robe of the high priest, transferred to an Edessan context and adding meaning to a quest story related as well to the parable of the prodigal son and the pearl of great price.

Keywords: ballad; boy's clothing; Edessan context; robe; The Hymn of the Pearl



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