The figure of Jesus Christ in the poetry of William Blake

Hales, Leslie-Ann (1980) The figure of Jesus Christ in the poetry of William Blake. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis studies the development of the figure of Jesus Christ in William Blake's poetry, affirms that this figure lies at the heart of Blake's prophetic message, and clarifies the meaning of the idea of a 'radically Christian Christ'. To say that Blake's Jesus Christ is radically Christian means that he is grounded in Scripture (and is therefore intended to recall Gospel stories about Christ) but also that he transcends the restrictions of orthodox dogma, especially by his intimate association with Imagination. This view is not to be confused with the opinion that Blake's Jesus is basically a symbol for Human Imagination. Although this opinion, in various guises, is shared by the majority of Blake critics, it fails to grasp the full significance of the figure of Jesus Christ, because it comes to its conclusion in the symbol itself. The statement that Jesus Christ is a symbol can only be made if we realize that, as a symbol, he points beyond himself to himself. It is not the symbol itself which liberates but rather the reality behind the symbol, the reality to which the symbol points. This reality is Jesus Christ. By re-examining pertinent passages and themes in the poetry it is shown that Blake grasped the basic information about Jesus' life, work, and death as he found it in the Gospels and then transformed it in his poetry. Here events such as incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection assume an urgent, apocalyptic, Christian vitality as Blake demonstrates how they are re-enacted in each Individual. Blake did not believe that he had invented this vision but rather that he had restored a truth about Jesus Christ long buried by the orthodox Church. The figure of Jesus is intimately associated with imagination but not because this word defines him. It is rather because he dwells in Hioman Imagination and because through this faculty humanity encounters, not just a symbol, but the real being of Jesus Christ. He is eternal, immanent, transcendent, and Christian beyond dogma. This is the vision which this thesis affirms and clarifies. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Peter Butter
Keywords: British & Irish literature
Date of Award: 1980
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1980-72321
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12

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