Brecht and the Bible

A Study of Religious Nihilism and Human Weakness in Brecht's Drama of Morality and the City

Brecht and the Bible

122 pp., 6 x 9, 1 halftones, 4 tables, notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5674-8
    Published: May 2020

University of North Carolina Studies in Germanic Languages and Literature

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This study identifies the underlying patterns of persistent biblical allusion in the work of renowned playwright Bertolt Brecht. Rather than reducing Brecht's use of the Bible to the purely satirical, the author interprets the full dramatic function of Brecht's complex use of scripture. Using examples from plays written throughout the span of Brecht's career, Murphy shows how Brecht invokes the stories of Old Testament figures such as Job and Isaiah as well as the crucifixion accounts of the New Testament in order to build sympathetic characters and explore his more political themes.


"[Murphy] establishes an impressive case for his contention that Brecht did not make use of the Bible only in a negative sense (for purposes of parody, humor, alienation, satire, and just plain blasphemy) but also--and here he has invaded practically virgin territory--in a positive way. . . . it represents a breakthrough in Brecht studies."---Theological Studies