Jesu Christi Pijnos Historia Rijmwijs betrachtad: Svenska passionsdikter under 1600- och 1700-talet
Sammanfattning: Metrical versions of the Passion form a significant part of the substantial body of devotional literature written in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. The aim underlying them was twofold: to meet the demand for works which could be used for purposes of educadon, edification, and private worship but also to show that the vanacul-ars could be used to produce distinguished works written in accordance with the aesthetic ideals of Classical and Neo-Latin poetry. The latter aim is particularly important in the case of German literature which contains a sizeable number of early 17th-century poems on the Passion written in this vein In my thesis I examine fourteen Swedish poems belonging to the Passio Christi genre, all of them composed between the middle of the seventeenth and the end of the eighteenth centuries; five of them are demonstrably renditions of identifiable German originals. The starting-point of my analysis is the meditational practice developed by Lutheran theologians. Making full use of the resources of rhetoric, the observer/poet describes a dramatic and visually poignant series of events in his poem, thus enabling the reader to share with him both an intellectual and emotional experience. The observer's understanding of the Passion reflects a long interpretative tradition beginning with the New Testament and the Church Fathers. This ancient ancestry affects both the language and the content of the poems. In my thesis I discuss the relationship between the poems and the principles of scriptural interpretation, in particular those of typological textual interpretation. The poetic meditations on the Passion date from a period when rhetoric and dialectic were still conceived of as a single subject, and linguistic form was seen as a vital part of a poem's content. Texts - as well as the world - were still interpreted 'carnaliter' as well as 'spiritualiter', and man was seen as an integrated member of a larger system. When meditating, the observer is intellectually and emotionally present at the scene he describes. As a literary product, the meditation points to the particular task formulated by sacred eloquence: to bridge the distance between what is infinitely exalted and what is low and humble, and to represent the divine and the unfathomable.
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