The Origin Of Sin: An English Translation Of The Hamartigenia by Prudentius

The Origin Of Sin: An English Translation Of The Hamartigenia

byPrudentiusEditorMartha A. Malamud

Hardcover | October 27, 2011

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Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–ca. 406) is one of the great Christian Latin writers of late antiquity. Born in northeastern Spain during an era of momentous change for both the Empire and the Christian religion, he was well educated, well connected, and a successful member of the late Roman elite, a man fully engaged with the politics and culture of his times. Prudentius wrote poetry that was deeply influenced by classical writers and in the process he revived the ethical, historical, and political functions of poetry. This aspect of his work was especially valued in the Middle Ages by Christian writers who found themselves similarly drawn to the Classical tradition.

Prudentius's Hamartigenia, consisting of a 63-line preface followed by 966 lines of dactylic hexameter verse, considers the origin of sin in the universe and its consequences, culminating with a vision of judgment day: the damned are condemned to torture, worms, and flames, while the saved return to a heaven filled with delights, one of which is the pleasure of watching the torments of the damned. As Martha A. Malamud shows in the interpretive essay that accompanies her lapidary translation, the first new English translation in more than forty years, Hamartigenia is critical for understanding late antique ideas about sin, justice, gender, violence, and the afterlife. Its radical exploration of and experimentation with language have inspired generations of thinkers and poets since—most notably John Milton, whose Paradise Lost owes much of its conception of language and its strikingly visual imagery to Prudentius's poem.

About The Author

Martha A. Malamud is Associate Professor of Classics at the University at Buffalo. She is the author of A Poetics of Transformation: Prudentius and Classical Mythology.

Details & Specs

Title:The Origin Of Sin: An English Translation Of The HamartigeniaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:October 27, 2011Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801442222

ISBN - 13:9780801442223

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Note on Translations and Editions

The Origin of Sin

1. Writing in Chains
2. Figuring It Out
3. Seeking Hidden Truth
4. Falling into Language
5. Under Assault
6. Generation of Vipers
7. Signs of Woe
8. In Aenigmate


Editorial Reviews

"Martha A. Malamud's translation of the Hamartigenia does justice to the poetic qualities of the original, while at the same time making the sense clear in what is at times a very difficult text. Malamud keeps the verse and the thought moving in a meter that is more natural to the English ear than any attempt to reproduce the hexameter in English would be."—Christopher Francese, Dickinson College