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The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (review)

From: Philosophy and Literature
Volume 6, Numbers 1 and 2, Fall 1982
pp. 180-189 | 10.1353/phl.1982.0024

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Reviewed by
The Great Code: The Bible and Literature, by Northrop Frye; xxiv & 261 pp. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982, $14.95.
Francis Sparshott
Victoria College
University of Toronto

Footnotes

1. The equation of the Messiah with Israel (the "royal" metaphor that equates ruler and community) and of both with humanity explains the recurrent, and recurrently mysterious, allusions in Frye to a way in which the universe takes on a human form. Frye's language in the present book is as exalted as ever: "Literally, the Bible is a gigantic myth, a narrative extending over the whole of time from creation to apocalypse, unified by a body of recurring imagery that 'freezes' into a single metaphor cluster, the metaphors all being identified with the body of the Messiah, the man who is all men, the totality of logoi who is one Logos, the grain of sand that is the world" (p. 224). The unanswered question is: exactly who, or what, identifies all the metaphors with the body of the Messiah?

2. Robert Nozick, Philosophical Explanations (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 622.

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