viii + 180 pp.
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Scottish Fiction as Gospel Exegesis
Four Case Studies
Alison M. Jack
The relationship between the Bible and literature continues to fascinate many scholars working in both fields. In this book, as the Gospels and the work of four Scottish writers are read together, their correspondences become manifest. The four writers, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mrs Oliphant and Lewis Grassic Gibbon, offer distinctive and accessible readings of the Gospels. Bringing the biblical texts and the work of these writers into conversation with one another highlights the changing ways the Bible influenced the fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Alison Jack shows that these novels function as exegeses of Gospel texts and ideas. What is offered here is not a simple noting of biblical allusions, but a narrative exploration of Gospel themes, ideas and stories, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, as they are woven through the content and form of the novels discussed, among them Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae. This weaving is never untouched by the influence of Calvinism on the imagination of these Scottish writers; but the influence, informed by the polymorphism of gospel discourse, is often surprising and certainly not static.
This book offers an insight into a shifting literary world that will be of interest to biblical critics working on the reception history of the Gospels and to scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Scottish literature, as well as to general readers who want to explore the hermeneutical issues raised by reading the Bible and literature together.
Alison Jack is Assistant Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh.
Introduction: Scottish Fiction as Gospel Exegesis
1. The Bible in Scottish Life and Thought
2. Luking for Justification among Sinners: Hogg’s Confessions and the Gospel of Luke
3. Families, Friendships and Finalities: Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae and the Gospel of John
4. The Prodigal Daughter: Margaret Oliphant’s Kirsteen as Parable Exegesis
5. Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Cloud Howe and the Matthean Christ
6. Conclusion: The Prodigal Son, Calvin and Scottish Literary Exegesis