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The Post-Reformation Passion

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Chapter Summary

In Eikonoklastes, Milton rejects Charles I's appropriation of passion imagery in the Eikon Basilike, in which he compared himself explicitly to Christ on the cross. To understand how Milton created a passion that departs from the late medieval Christus Patiens tradition, it is important to recognize the contours of biblical precedent, the materials and methods it provides for the Reformation rewriting of the passion image. The gospels were the source for medieval renderings of the crucifixion as well. Awareness of the literary qualities of the gospels-as well as the variety of artistic precedents in early Christian art-allows for a fuller understanding of the Protestant poetry of the passion. Post-Reformation passion poems shift the focus away from the crucifixion to concentrate on other events in the passion sequence and the rather different idea of Jesus' role that they put forward.

Keywords: Christian art; crucifixion; Eikon Basilike; Eikonoklastes; gospels; Milton; Post-Reformation Passion



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