By Brian S. Hook
This quantity is a literary and cultural research of the discord and resonance among classical beliefs of heroic motion and the imperatives of the Christian existence, from the Homeric epic to the current day. Its critical topic is the trouble of spotting, imitating, and collaborating in heroic excellence--a trouble that has been a priority for classical, Renaissance, and glossy writers alike.
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Extra resources for Heroism and the Christian Life: Reclaiming Excellence
By placing holiness first, Spenser signals that all the virtues have their foundation in holiness. Without holiness, there is no virtue pleasing to God. But holiness is not simply a gift of grace; it is the object of quest, and thus a genuinely human project. Spenser presents this quest for holiness in the figure of a newly baptized knight, Redcrosse, who is marked for Christ with the sign of the cross on his shield. Narratively, Redcrosse quests on behalf of Una, whose land, Eden, and whose parents, the king and queen, are oppressed by a dragon from hell.
91). Anthony knows that his glory is Christ's alone, a glory he shares only insofar as his life is Christ-like. He possesses no glory that is his own, and with death his life ends, and his transparency to Christ ceases, living on only in the memory of his example, not in the bones of his body. This careful treatment of Anthony's death suggests that Athanasius knew very well how easily we are tempted to parse the divine and human, separating the heroism of Jesus from the heroism of exemplary disciples, and in so doing, raise up a glory of sanctity that can begin to rival the glory of God in Christ.
But there is no key of knowledge for the iron door that imprisons Redcrosse, so Arthur "rent that yron door" 4 and hauls the "pined corse" of Redcrosse into the light. The prison of pride requires more than a key of knowledge. The prisoner of pride cannot free himself, not even with knowledge of pride's false and empty honor. Arthur, an external power, must break down the door and pull Redcrosse from pride. Arthur is the knight perfected through God's grace and the symbol of Christ himself. He is both the bearer of grace, and grace itself.