George W. Cable's use of the Bible in his fiction and major polemical essays

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Martha H. Morehead (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robert Stephens

Abstract: Like many of his contemporaries, George W. Cable was imbued with a knowledge of the Bible and was steeped in its idiom. Cable used this thorough knowledge both to enhance and to give substance to his art. His bellestristic and polemical works show his commitment to human rights and humanitarian causes, founded on Biblical principles of justice and human brotherhood. The major thesis of his fiction—that man is his brother's keeper—derives from these principles, and his social criticism is predicated upon them. References to the Bible in his writing are thus both structural and ornamental. His major polemical essays—"The Freedman's Case in Equity," "The Silent South," and "The Negro Question"— show Cable in the role of moral spokesman similar to such Old Testament prophets as Amos and Jeremiah, who also spoke out against social injustice. These essays demonstrate that, like the Biblical nabi’, Cable believes it his duty to speak out against social injustice in the South after the Civil War. His use of Biblical allusion and idiom in notable passages suggests that Cable as nabi’ symbolically invokes the prophetic utterance--"Thus saith the Lord"--that prefaces Old Testament oracles. A major use of the Bible in these polemical essays is in the appeal to Biblical principles of justice, mercy, and human brotherhood.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1980
Cable, George Washington, $d 1844-1925 $x Criticism and interpretation
Cable, George Washington, $d 1844-1925 $x Religion and ethics
Bible $x In literature

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