Study Guide

Hebrews Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

Othello by William Shakespeare
Even though he's not a Christian, Othello alludes to Hebrews 12:6—"For the Lord disciplines those whom he loves"—as he contemplates killing his wife. We're not exactly sure that's what God had in mind there, Othello.

Paradiso by Dante Alighieri
When St. Peter gives Dante a little quiz on faith, he quotes Hebrews 11:1 right at him: "Faith is the substance of the things we hope for and is the evidence of things not seen." St. Peter is impressed, and so is Shmoop.

Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
When the author refers to the "farced epistol to the hibruws," he naturally means the Epistle to the Hebrews. Calling it the first (or "farced") is meant to be funny since this letter was the only one ever written to this group of Christians. You know you're high-brow when your jokes need footnotes.

Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanThe line "the men told them that they were Pilgrims and Strangers in the World," is based on Hebrews 11:13: "They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth." Being a pilgrim is lonely business.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
A bit of an argument breaks out when Corporal Trim tries to read a sermon based on Hebrews 13:18. What everyone really wants to know is whether or not the author is a Protestant. Fat chance, gents.

The Evidence of Things Not Seen by W.H. Murray
The autobiography of this famous Scottish mountain climber takes its title from Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hey, you've gotta have faith to scale gigantic mountains.

Pop Culture References

Entertaining AngelsThe title of this movie based on the life of Catholic activist Dorothy Day comes from Hebrews 13:2: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Beauty and the Beast
You never know when you might be entertaining a beautiful enchantress. If the spoiled prince at the beginning of Disney's 1991 classic had taken our author's advice on hospitality in Hebrews 13:2, he might not have ended up as a hideous beast. Eh, live and learn, right?

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