Abstract: Both Lope and Calderón composed autos sacramentales retelling the biblical story of the binding of Isaac, but the converso Felipe Godínez uses the Genesis story in a setting that not only exalts the Eucharist, but Spain's religious orthodoxy. The play's unusual framework mirrors Godínez's personal uniqueness among Golden Age dramatists stemming from his conviction and punishment for heresy by the Inquisition. The foundational version of the Isaac story in the Bible portrays Abraham's call to sacrifice his son as a test, underscores the threat to relationship by repeating kinship terms, and links patriarch's obedience to the broader Genesis theme of promise. Both Lope, in his Obras son amores , and Calderón, in Primero y segundo Isaac , reveal a typological interest in the scene and set it among other biblical stories. In Godínez's El divino Isaac , Abraham offers Isaac in order to pay for the errors of the biblical King Abimelech and of the Jewish People. The portrayal of the sacrifice in the Godínez work silences the biblical theme of testing, weakens the notion of relationship, and makes the Genesis theme of promise heard only in the typological linking of Moriah and Calvary. After the sacrifice, the play focuses on Abimelech and his identity shifts from Gentile representative, to English schismatic, to faithful Spanish king. The shrinking of the Isaac tradition and its unusual framing within the story of a figure representing Spanish religious zeal bring to mind the playwright's own confessional tensions and comprise two important features of this unpublished yet fascinating Godínez work. (TP)
Bulletin of the Comediantes – Bulletin of the Comediantes
Published: Jan 8, 1997
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