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The Origin of SinAn English Translation of the "Hamartigenia"$
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Aurelius Prudentius Clemens

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801442223

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801442223.001.0001

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Seeking Hidden Truth

Seeking Hidden Truth

(p.85) 3. Seeking Hidden Truth
The Origin of Sin


, Martha A. Malamud
Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that by guiding readers toward the Hamartigenia's correct interpretation through personification allegory in the poem's preface that contains typological allegory, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens draws attention to the process of figural reading. As the Hamartigenia progresses, the process of interpreting signs becomes less and less clear-cut. Prudentius presents his argument through different figures—analogy, allusion, simile, exempla—whose ambiguity and complex interrelationships represented the infinite ability of signs to generate meaning, as well as the concomitant difficulty of arriving at a right reading. The first major figure of the poem refutes the heretical notion that there are two gods. Prudentius offers as a counterargument the analogy of the sun, which were considered as a visible sign of the innate unity of God (the sun is unicus), and the Trinity (the sun is also triplex).

Keywords:   Hamartigenia, personification allegory, typological allegory, figural reading, signs, figures, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens

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