The Violent Bear It Away Themes

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The title of the novel is taken from Matthew 11:12. At the beginning of Matthew 11, Jesus preaches to the multitudes about the prophet John the Baptist, who he says will not wear "soft robes" or preach a gentle message. Christ then says, in the verse that provides the novel's epigraph: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." There have been two interpretations of the verse. The first says that, since the time of John the Baptist and Christ's ministry, the kingdom of heaven has been advancing forcefully, and the "violent," meaning the eager, ardent multitudes of godly men, will take it by force—displaying their strength through action. The implication is that the faithful will one day attain the kingdom of heaven. Another interpretation is that unbelievers, such as Pharisees (the "violent" in...

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This section contains 1,273 words
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The Violent Bear It Away from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.