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“Types and Shadows”

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the diverse and often conflicting uses of Moses in the Renaissance, when seismic developments such as humanism, nationalism, and religious reformations invited various reconceptualizations of the Old-Testament figure, whether devotional, ideological, or otherwise. It primarily focuses on a range of English texts, but also features a brief excursus among Italian references and select landmarks of Renaissance Rome, where Moses was reconceived as a typus papae. The chapter's coverage is hardly exhaustive, then, but the pairing of English and Roman uses reveals confessional differences in how Moses was viewed overall and suggests which details of his rich story were most salient in each cultural context. John Milton incorporated different aspects of Moses' life, character, and reputation elsewhere, and he did so in various ways. Moses' appearances in Paradise Lost represent Milton's most sustained and subtle treatment of the Old Testament figure.

Keywords: John Milton; Moses; Old Testament; Paradise Lost; Renaissance; typus papae



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