Cain and abel (Mr. Freeburger)

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Biblical Allusions


(Mr. Freeburger)

Summary: Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain offers part of his harvest to God while Abel offers some of his livestock. God likes the livestock more which makes Cain jealous. He murders Abel, then lies to God about it, saying he’s no “my brother’s keeper.” But Abel’s blood is crying from the soil. The tainted soil will no longer produce for Cain and he is banished, but not before God marks him to protect him from retaliation for the murder of his brother. Cain goes to Nod, “east of Eden”, where he begins a new life.

Example: John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden.

Purpose: On the surface, the purpose could be to reference jealousy, betrayal and murder. The blood calling from the soil and tainting the ground could be used to represent punishment of a crime. Cain’s mark and exile could represent the protection from someone in power despite a wrong or the rejection and banishment from paradise (or someplace good). In Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden, Cain and Abel are alluded to throughout, but the title itself refers to the place of rebuilding…outside of paradise.


Summary: Even though David's own behavior may have influenced his son, Absalom still made his own choices and decisions. Indeed, there may have been various influences which pointed Absalom's life in a certain direction and led him to think as he did, yet he chose his own path. He chose to allow hatred and anger to simmer in his heart that led to his murdering his brother Amnon. He chose to undermine the king's authority and gather around him a band of men to seize the throne from his father. No one put a spear to his head and compelled him to do these things. He charted his own course.

Example: Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner

Purpose: Although we may have positive impacts in our lives such as parents, siblings, etc. who try their best to show the correct pathway. It's still simply up to the person to take their advice or continue to do their own thing.


Summary: Abraham became the first Hebrew and was chose by family God to weave his scarlet thread through humanity. It was t Abraham's descendants through which the Jewish nation would arise. God promised to give Abraham a son through his wife Sarah who was barren. God lured Abraham to his wealth and a great reputation.

Example: The odyssey

Purpose: Abraham is a true action hero. Shown as the a 'cool' guy, someone of who has great achievements which were destined, even before birth

Adam and Eve

Summary: God created a man in his image which is Adam, who was form from the dust on the ground. And then cut open Adam and formed a woman from his rib which became Eve. They were made for god’s pleasure and were intimately connected with one another. The God then gave them a beautiful garden which had all of life’s necessities, and 1 command which is to never eat from 1 tree or else they will die. Satan then came along and temped Eve and had her question God’s word. They ate the fruit and their lives and all future humanity has changed. Then God gave them punishments, for Eve bearing children would be painful, Adam’s work would be hard, and the serpent would have the punishment of crawling on the ground. No longer had personal communication with god they must provide for themselves from now on. And die from old age.




(3 hierarchies, 9 orders)

Summary: there are 3 different hierarchies(spheres) of angels, the first sphere of angels serve as the heavenly servants of god and the son incarnated. 1 order is seraphim, they serve as caretakers of gods throne. The second order being cherubim, the Cherubim have four faces, a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle. They guard the way to the tree of life in the garden of eden and gods throne. The third order are thrones, who are living symbols of god's justice and authorities. The second sphere includes Dominions or lordships, who regulate the duties of lower angels. The next are Virtues and Strongholds who create signs and miracles in the world. The third are Powers or Authorities, their primary duty is to supervise the movements of the heavenly bodies in order to ensure that the cosmos remains in order. The third sphere includes principalities or rulers, who guide and protect nations, groups of people, or institutions such as a church. the next are archangels, who are chief angels, or highest in power. The last order are angels, who are normal angels that are most concerned with living beings.


Purpose: the purpose of angels is usually thought to be messengers of god, but they are known to protect gods throne, all living beings, what they do, and nations around the world. They help keep everything in order which is why there are hierarchies. Angels are the protectors and play an important role.


Summary: In the bible, the Apocalypse comes with the Four Horsemen, representing conquest, war, famine, and death. It is said to occur once all the believers have been sent to heaven and the only remaining people are guilty of sin and are to be punished.

Example: Elf by David Berenbaum

Purpose: In the movie, the world is entering a dark time where people don't believe in Santa and because of that, his sled crashes in the middle of central park. Soon after, four horse mounted police officers, representing the four horsemen, show up and foreshadow a world of depression and gloom that will surely follow if people don't begin to believe in Santa again.


Summary: Armageddon is the last battle between good and evil. The battle will destroy evil and will take place on the day of judgement. It is supposed to take place when Christ comes back to Earth for the second time. Armageddon has not happened but it will in the future according to the bible.

It is set to take place on Mount Megiddo.

Example: At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners (Holy Sonnet 7)

Purpose: Armageddon is used in literature to symbolize the end of the world. Armageddon is also used to allude to a destructive battle that will end all battles. It can be seen as an ultimate battle where the forces of right vs. Wrong. The battle between Christ and Satan is extreme and can create an intense mood by alluding to Armageddon.

The Ascension




The Beatitudes

Summary: The Beatitudes are 8 blessings recounted on the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each consists of two phrases: the condition and the result. They present a new set of Christian ideals preached by Jesus, emphasizing love, humility, charity, mercy, spirituality, and compassion, in contrast to the brutal, God fearing passages of the old Testament.

Example: Similar ideals are preached in the Koran.

Purpose: Jesus was so successful in creating a new religion because what he preached had never really been heard before, especially in the Old Testament. Rather than preaching of the wrath of God, Jesus talked of the love God had for his children, and how mercy, compassion, and humility, rather than obedience and wealth, were the way to get into heaven. This resonated with the poor and oppressed who lived in Jesus' time, and those radical new themes have been found in almost every new religion since then.


Summary: Beelzebub is sometimes used as another name for the Devil. He is also considered one of the seven princes of Hell.

Example: Lord of the Flies

Purpose: Lord of the Flies was a nickname given to Beelzebub and symbolizes the chaos and evilness that the boys descend into in the book. Just reading the title gives away how the story will progress, and none of it means any good.

The Betrayal

Summary: Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 disciples of Christ. Judas agreed to reveal Christ to the Roman guards for 30 pieces of silver. The Kiss of Judas exposed Jesus to the plethora of townspeople who had come to arrest Jesus. The kiss is given by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper, directly leading to the arrest of Jesus by the police force of the Sanhedrin. "The kiss"

Example: The Chronicles of Narnia

Purpose: This allusion represents situational irony because a kiss is usually a good sign, but a kiss in this case results in capture.

The Burning Bush

Summary: The bush is burning but is not consumed by flames, hence the name. God speaks to Moses through the burning bush and appears in the form of a fire as a symbol of His holiness.

Example: "His glory is like a consuming fire, a pillar of fire that radiates light, a light so brilliant that no man can approach it."(Exodus 24:17; 1 Timothy 6:16)

Purpose: A reference to the Burning Bush may indicate that God is trying to get someone's attention in an effort to redirect them to the "right path".


Summary: He was a Jewish High Preist who was said to have organized a plot to kill Jesus. They interrogate Jesus looking for false evidence to frame him, but are not able to find any. They charge him with blasphemy and order him to be beaten to death.

Example: The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde.

Purpose: The Poem refers to the kiss of Caiaphas. This could allude to how he was planning to kill Jesus, so it would make sense if it wanted to show how its almost a kiss of death.

Canon Law

Summary: Gratiani's Decretum is a compilation of almost 4,000 texts on regulations in the church. It also addressed existing canon law with questions and remarks on the contradictions made by them. It is now hailed as a classic and used by canon lawyers in practice and at universities. The book of canon law itself is divided into seven books on the application of the laws, the rights of the clergy and the congregation, ministry, worship, ownership of property, crimes and punishment, and trials.

Example: Dectretum Gratiani

Purpose: Canon law is the set of rules by which multiple denominations of Christianity abide. While secular laws exist, Christians such as the Roman Catholics still follow these laws as well.

Cloven Hoof

Summary: In the book of the bible called Leviticus, it sets guidelines/rules as to what animals you are allowed to eat and not allowed to eat if you are a follower of the Jewish religion. The animals that are okay to eat according to Jewish dietary law are called "Kosher Animals". The cloven hoof animals have splits in their hooves and eat grass (i.e. Cows). If animals don’t have split hooves, then they're considered unclean animals and should not be eaten by people who follow this religion.

Example: Daniel Defoe's "Tale of the Devil"

Purpose: The food rules and guidelines for the followers of this religion represents how much of yourself that you have to sacrifice to be a true follower of the religion. Even what you eat has to be based on and aligned with the rules of the religion, so it also represents commitment.


Summary: A covenant is an oath-bound promise where one person promises to bless or serve another person in a specific way. There are three types of covenants mentioned in the Bible, between humans, between nations, and between God and humans.

Example: the novel Beloved

Purpose: Can symbolize many things in literature, most of the time the focus is put on the person blessing the other person and sacrificing something of their own to do so. This person is often referred to as a covenant. Other times the situation in general provides the allusion to the covenant.

Crown of Thorns


After Jesus' trials and flogging but before his crucifixion, he was brought before Roman soldiers and given a staff. The soldiers all knelt and mocked him, saying "All hail the king of Jews!" Jesus was spit upon, beat, and insulted. The soldiers then proceeded to put a crown of thorns on his head. While the crown would be painful, it was mainly meant to mock Jesus. The crown is supposed to be a symbol of royalty, but here it was turned into something painful and degrading. However, the Christians see this as Jesus' willingness to suffer on their account and what he came to accomplish.

Example: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Purpose: On the surface, the purpose could be to mock a symbol of authority, as that's what the Roman soldiers were trying to do. However, it can also represent the willingness of a leader to take pain for his people, and how the pain of one person can set an example for others. Since the Roman soldiers meant for the crown to be degrading but the Christians saw it as a symbol of what Jesus would accomplish, the purpose could also ne to demonstrate the double meaning of an item or opposing viewpoints.

The Creation

Summary: This story is how God created the Earth and everything in it in 6 days. On the first day, God created the Heavens and Earth and shed light on the Earth. On the second and third day, he created the sky and plants. The fourth day brought the sun and the moon, giving light to all parts of the day. The fifth day God created living creatures to roam and thrive on Earth with the plants and sunshine. On the sixth, He created humans, 1 male and 1 female, each given the gift to rule the Earth and spread their kind throughout. Finally, on the seventh day, He rested.

Example: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Purpose: The Creation could be a symbol of birth or the origin of something or a place. In the novel, The Chronicles of Narnia, the author uses the allusion of "The Creation" with describing how the world of "Narnia" was created and the good and evil that entered it. The allusion can be used to describe something new and raw to the world, untouched by any evil or destruction.

The Crucifixion

Summary: The death of Jesus, which is described in the four cononical gospels. Jesus was arrested and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be killed by the Romans. He was nailed to the cross and hung for 3 days, and then his side was cut to ensure he had died. The new testament states the three accounts of Christ prior to his death. Jesus was around the sinners and tax collectors. This upset the Jewish leaders because he extended mercy beyond their strict boundaries. This is what lead them to punish Jesus by forcing him to carry his own cross throughout the town to his own crucifixion while being spit on, shamed, beaten, and brutally whipped. This death was very important in the bible because Jesus had completely died and rid him of everyone's sins as he was being used as the ultimate sacrifice. Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday.

Example: Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Purpose: The allusion to the crucifixion alludes to the death being very shameful and symbolic of a group of people rather than just an individual. An author can use this to help connect the death to other people in the story and how it affects them as well.

Daniel in the

Lion’s Den

Summary: King Darius was the ruler of Babylon and appointed men to help him lead. Daniel was the leader of advisors and also believed in God. The other leaders didn’t like Daniel so they tried to get rid of him. These men knew Daniel followed the God of Isreal and told King Darius that there was a new law that you could not worship to any God except King Darius or else they would be thrown into the lion's den. Daniel knew of the law but was committed to worshiping God, so he continued to worship every day. The king was devastated because he loved Daniel but knew he couldn’t break the law and threw him into the den anyway. The king comes back to see if God had saved Daniel, and Daniel replies that god had sent an angel to close their jaws. The king throws anyone who was against Daniel into the lion's den.

Example: The autobiography The Life of Frederick Douglass

Purpose: Anything alluded to Daniel in the Lion's Den is in reference to faithfulness and promise. Frederick Douglass alludes to this biblical story when he says, "one who has escaped from a den of hungry lions." Douglass was persecuted by slavery just as Daniel was by Darius' decree. The allusion implies that because Douglass stayed faithful, he escaped his persecution.

David and Goliath

Summary: Goliath was a Philistine warrior known for his stature and violent acts on the battlefield. David was a young shepherd who was bringing reinforcements to the Israelites in the war between the Israelites and the Philistines. Goliath demanded that the Israelites bring him a champion that will fight him in single combat. Obviously, no man wished to fight in a suicide match against the massive Goliath, even with the reward that Saul, the king of Israel, was offering to anyone who could kill him. David, while bringing food to his brothers, heard of the challenge, and accepted. He denied any royal armor, and instead, stepped out onto the battlefield with only his slingshot. Goliath taunted him, and David responded by saying, "...the battle is God's, and he will give you into our hand." David then slung a rock at Goliath with a perfect shot straight to the center of his head, killing him instantly.

Example: Henry the Fifth

Purpose: In literature, the story of David and Goliath is most often used to signify the triumph of a small resistance over an overpowering villain. It also represents the more specific battle between Christianity and the powers that wish to destroy it. In Henry the Fifth, Henry rallies his weaker British troops and manages to win against the much more powerful French troops.

David and Bathsheba

Summary: David slept with Bathsheba, despite knowing that she was married to Uriah. Bathsheba later sent word David that she was pregnant. David was nervous that his adulterous acts would now be found out, so he made a plan to have Uriah spend a night with his wife to cover up the sin that Bathsheba was pregnant with David's child. However, Uriah refused to sleep with Bathsheba while his men were out fighting. So King David sent a note to the army commander with instructions to have Uriah put at the frontline and to withdraw so that he would die. Bathsheba mourned her husbands death and was then sent to marry King David. The Prophet Nathan visited King David and told him of God's disapproval and told him that the son Bathsheba was expecting would die.

Example: The Scarlett Letter

Purpose: The story of David and Bathsheba reminds readers that great men, men in high positions, are still humans and struggle with sin. This story also shows that God can always forgive but there will always be consequences for sinful choices.

doubting thomas

Summary: 'Doubting Thomas' is a nickname for one of the twelve apostles, Thomas. After Jesus was crucified, Thomas refused to believe that Jesus was resurrected until he could feel and see the wounds caused by the nails on his hands and feet.

Example: The Count of Monte Cristo

Purpose: The purpose of the Doubting Thomas allusion is to draw attention to people's inability to believe in something without sufficient evidence.


Summary: The Israelites leave slavery in Egypt through the strength of God who has chosen Israel as his people. Led by their prophet Moses they journey to Mount Sinai, where God promises them the land of Canaan, the "Promised Land", in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters into a covenant with God who gives them their laws (the 10 commandments) and instructions to build the Tabernacle, the means by which he will come from heaven and live with them and lead them in a holy war to possess the land, and then give them peace.

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