G. Ronald MurphyJun 30, 2022
Brecht and the Bible
A Study of Religious Nihilism and Human Weakness in Brecht's Drama of Morality and the City
University of North Carolina Press 2020
In Brecht and the Bible: A Study of Religious Nihilism and Human Weakness in Brecht's Drama of Morality and the City (UNC Press, 2020), Father G. Ronald Murphy argues that Brecht, atheist and Marxist though he was, was also a sensitive reader and interpreter of the Bible. Murphy persuasively shows that Brecht's use of Biblical texts was not only satirical, but was at times deadly serious, particularly concerning the theme of death itself. For Brecht, the Bible provides eloquent reminders of the finitude of life and of the necessity of work, of eating by the sweat of one's brow. The conflict between work and life, for example in the case of Mother Courage's paradoxical dependence on the war for her survival even as it kills her precious children, proves a major theme in Brecht. This is a work that should appeal to scholars of German literature, but also to anyone interested in the interpretation of Brecht, whether for scholarly or artistic reasons.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.