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9 Seeing and Recognizing in the Sacred and New: The Latin Scriptural Plays of Nicholas Grimald

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Chapter Summary

Nicholas Grimald (1519–62) was the author of six Latin plays, including a nativity play and plays about St Stephen and Athanasius. Two of his plays have survived: the scriptural dramas Christus Redivivus (1543) and Archipropheta (1548). Grimald participated in the ‘Christian Terence’ movement which sought to adapt classical models to Christian purposes. In his Latin scriptural drama, Nicholas Grimald yokes the classical with the scriptural, Plautus with Seneca, and the devil with the pagan underworld. His stories are scriptural but he translates scripture from the Latin of the Vulgate into the Latin of Virgil. This essay examines Grimald’s use of classical Latin resources in his scriptural plays. It focuses on the themes of seeing and testimony in his two surviving plays, plays that everywhere question whether the human senses and reason can guide their characters to a happy outcome.



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