Pagan and Christian Trees: From Ambrose to “Juniper Tree”
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Trees are important in Christian thought – Adam and Eve fell because they ate the fruit of a tree, and Jesus died on a wooden Cross which was universally identified as a tree in later Christianity. But there are other trees in the Christian cosmology, including the tree on which Zaccheus climbed to see Jesus, and from which he was called to repentance. This story is revised and reimagined in one of the richest, most admired and most “pagan” of the Grimm fairy tales, “The Juniper Tree”. This lecture by Professor Hill will thus be a literary history of some spiritual, cosmological and real trees in the literature of medieval and early modern Europe.