Captivity by György Spiró

By György Spiró

A literary sensation in Hungary, György Spiró’s Captivity is either a hugely subtle historic novel and a gripping page-turner. Set within the tumultuous first century A.D., among the 12 months of Christ’s dying and the outbreak of the Jewish struggle, Captivity recounts the adventures of the feeble-bodied, bookish Uri, a tender Roman Jew.

Frustrated together with his hapless son, Uri’s father sends the younger guy to the Holy Land to regain the family’s status. In Jerusalem, Uri is imprisoned by means of Herod and meets thieves and (perhaps) Jesus sooner than their crucifixion. Later, in cosmopolitan Alexandria, he undergoes a scholarly and sexual awakening—but should also get away a pogrom. Returning to Rome ultimately, he unearths a completely unforeseen inheritance.

Equal components Homeric epic, brilliantly researched Jewish historical past, and picaresque experience, Captivity is a dramatic story of relatives, destiny, and fortitude. In its weak-yet-valiant hero, fanatics could be reminded of Robert Graves’ classics of old Rome, I, Claudius and Claudius the God.

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We find in Beelzebub a similar tentativeness toward external objects. 13455) and puts the syllogism to curious use. According to Beelzebub: 1) God has defeated Satan's angels; 2) only an almighty power could have defeated them; therefore, 3) God is almighty. Like Satan, Beelzebub begins with the fiction of a quest for certainty and then argues that it is his experiment that in fact constitutes God's divin33 "Authors to Themselves" 10 ity. As Satan believes that his submission or resistance defines God's political nature, Beelzebub implies that the rebellion has finally settled the "issue" of God's omnipotence.

In his seminal study "Figura," Erich Auerbach sees in typological hermeneutics the three-way articulation of a historical event (historia), the rhetorical use of that event as a type (figura), and the truth that will come into view at a later time, when the singular event is fulfilled by a subsequent and transcending event (veritas): Beside the opposition between figura and fulfillment or truth, there appears another, between figura and historia; historia or littera is the literal sense or the event related; figura is the same literal meaning or event in reference to the fulfillment cloaked in it, and this fulfillment itself is veritas, so that figura becomes a middle term between littera-historia and veritas.

II. 549). To succeed, the Christian acts within time to mold his or her image in "conformity divine" to that future revelation of Truth beyond time. 24 Introduction It is this pattern of historical revelation, the slow learning of the double dialectic of immediate experience and spiritual understanding, that I wish to trace through a sequential reading of the twelve books of Paradise Lost. In considering Paradise Lost, I shall be looking closely at the interactions of three elements in its structure: the episodes, which are the building blocks from which it is assembled; the narrative itself, by which I mean the working out of the story through the integration of the episodes; and the network of allusions both to the cultural background outside the text and, as the poem develops, to previous episodes within it, especially when a given word or passage is revised by a subsequent word or passage.

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