By Melanie J. Wright
This booklet explores the retelling of the lifetime of Moses in 3 20th-century American narratives: Moses in pink, by means of Lincoln Steffens; Moses, guy of the Mountain, through Zora Neale Hurston; and Cecil B. DeMille's movie, the 10 Commandments. Wright's research unearths that the determine of Moses has robust foreign money in American tradition at many degrees.
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Extra info for Moses in America: The Cultural Uses of Biblical Narrative
Bold, systemic reform was better able to deal with the causes of injustice and poverty than the older strategy of piecemeal Christian philanthropy. The social gospel's practical religion bears some resemblance to the approach Steffens advocates in Moses in Red. For Steffens, Jesus was a revolutionary anarchist: "The doctrine of Jesus is the most revolutionary propaganda that I have ever encountered. . 40 H. H. Stein's thesis notes several social gospel elements in Steffens's thought, including the fascination with the life of Jesus, whose original message for the poor and oppressed was seen as having been corrupted by the institution of the church, and the desire to build a just society.
Over the organization of 38 MOSES IN A M E R I C A a list of syndicated columnists and others to whom review copies might be sent. Even he, however, felt a need for discretion and was uneasy about his association with Moses in Red. "108 If Steffens's book is compared with a contemporary work in the same genre that was successful, further evidence emerges to suggest that Filene's assessment of Moses in Red was correct. Steffens's representation of the Moses story differed too greatly from popular perceptions of the meaning of the Exodus-Deuteronomy narrative (specifically, its meaning for American society) to be well received.
If Steffens had written such a work in the later 36 MOSES IN A M E R I C A 1920s or early 1930s, when severe economic depression was experienced in North America and Europe, his revolutionary program might have attracted more support. Morton's suggestions are interesting but perhaps not entirely accurate. First, it is debatable whether a 1920s readership would have regarded the Russian revolution as a past event that bore no relevance in the postwar world. Certainly, the 1920s were popularly conceived of as a new age, but the evidence points to a sustained interest in the new Soviet state.
Moses in America: The Cultural Uses of Biblical Narrative by Melanie J. Wright