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Title: O death, where is thy victory? : a study of Christ's Descensus ad infernos in the Odes of Solomon
Author: Jervis, Adrienne L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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Almost 100 years have passed since a manuscript containing that lost book known as the Odes of Solomon was discovered, yet the hymns themselves remain an enigma. There are two reasons for this. The first lies in the elusive nature of the Odes, which has led to their classification in such mutually exclusive categories as the Old Testament Pseudepigraphs, the New Testament Apocrypha and the Patristic Literature. The second is due to the fact that previous approaches to their study have either been concerned with matters such as their provenance, original language and date of composition or have only been stimulated by the desire to draw a comparison with other works. In an effort to unravel the mystery of the Odes and gain a greater appreciation of their beauty, this thesis adopts a thematic approach to their study. The chosen theme is that of Christ's Descent into Hell, an event which held such a fascination for early writers and became an important source of inspiration in Christian art. Besides the unequivocal reference to the Descensus in the final hymn, in which personified Death is seen both as an all-consuming monster and a tyrannical gaoler, this theme clearly runs throughout the collection and is dwelt on avidly by the Odist. It centres around the battle between Christ and Death, a wily, ubiquitous and primordial opponent, and the imagery is often closely reminiscent of the Chaoskampf. The motif is developed by the Odist to express the central truth of the Christian kerygma, namely that Death has been overcome by Christ. Indeed, the whole of the Passion and its meaning are conflated by him into the Descensus episode. Furthermore, the Odist ensures that the personal and abiding significance of Christ's victory is communicated to each and every believer through the depiction of Christian baptism as the mimesis of Christ's Descent.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available