Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

Corrigendum on Luther, Vergil, etc.

This was supposed to be an update to the post on Luther, Cicero, and Vergil shared yesterday, but for some reason the software will not let me change the post, so I have to do it here.

A colleague has pointed out to me, correctly, that Luther’s reference to the “divine Aeneid” is a reference to the Bible. I was inattentive while reading; the order of progression, together with the demonstrative hanc, makes the reference clear.

Since that is the case, Luther’s last words are even more interesting than I had let on. He skips the Aeneid when he speaks of Vergil, and returns to it only to transform it into a spiritual Aeneid, Scripture itself. Thus his allusion to Statius has another layer of complexity added on to it: for Statius refers to the (actual) Aeneid as divine, while Luther’s last words refer to Statius’ last words in the Thebaid but make Statius’ ascription a figure for the Bible, and in so doing leaves behind a swan-song correctio of the 1st c. Roman poet.

Not bad, I’d say.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.