This introductory chapter briefly examines how, in the Hamartigenia, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens pursued a number of interrelated themes: orthodoxy and heresy, similitude and difference, understanding and misinterpretation, blindness and sight, fruitful creativity and sterile duplication. Prudentius ties all of these oppositions to the basic problem of the fall: man, created as the imago Dei, the likeness of God, has become, through his own will, unlike the God who is his origin. Like John Milton, who retells the same tale on a heroic scale in Paradise Lost (1667), Prudentius wrestles with the enigmatic pattern of likeness and unlikeness of man. The chapter also looks into the life of Prudentius, highlighting his career in public service and his conversion into a Christian contemplative and a poet.
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