Venga tu Reino: the kingdom of God in Spanish epic poetry

Date

1997-08

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Publisher

Texas Tech University

Abstract

This study demonstrates that the historical Christian notion of the kingdom of God provides an underlying stratum that intertextually energizes select Spanish epic poems. The Poema de Ferndn Gonzalez (PEG), the Laberinto de Fortuna, and La Christiada are examined to see how the kingdom of God functions in these poems as a guiding metaphorical, allegorical, and figurative stmcture. A combined theological, historical, and theoretical approach guides the analysis of the interdisciplinary investigation.

Specific applications of textual points of contact between the PFG and the Bible demonstrate that Ferndn Gonzdlez has been inducted into a higher level of politicalspiritual conunand, transcending the merely historical plane in order to connect to a larger figurative structure. The kingdom of God of historical Christianity serves as a guiding metaphorical stmcture for Castilian ascendency and the glorification of her first count. Its present/fiiture oriented essence (the "already-not-yet" is an indispensable concept) connects the poem with broad mythical structures.

The kingdom of God shadows Juan de Mena's Laberinto de Fortima, empowering his political and moral agenda (the Reconquest) for its recipient. King Juan n. Mena creates a Spanish national project to effect a continuation and transformation of both pagan and Christian aspects of historical Rome. To this end he uses both Vergilian (Aeneas, golden age) and Christian (prophecy, apocalyptic language, the concept of two ages) allegorical models to prefigure the presence of the future. His work does not overtly demonstrate a sophisticated eschatology, but appears to have absorbed and recast the background theology in his own terms, combining Augustinian realized eschatology with a general apocalyptic awareness.

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