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Interpreting Lamentations: Theodicy And The Turks

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Chapter Summary

For sixteenth-century Western Europe the Ottoman Empire represented a larger than life threat in much the same way that the Soviet Union did in the second half of the twentieth century. This threat led Peter Martyr Vermigli to include in his lectures on Lamentations an analogy between the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the apparent aim of the Ottoman Turks to conquer the rest of Europe. He included this analogy, which is in effect a theodicy, in spite of his express intention merely to make the prophet's message plain. This leads us first to investigate Peter Martyr's method of scripture interpretation in his Lamentations lectures and second to look closely at his applications of the ancient prophet's message to the Turkish conquests of his own time.

Keywords: Lamentations; Ottoman Turks; Peter Martyr Vermigli; theodicy



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