"The ground of Storie"
Genealogy in biblical exegesis and the Legend of Temperance
in Spenserian allegory and Elizabethan biblical exegesis
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Elizabethans thought genealogy offered a key to character, as shown by their analyses of the discrepancies between the lists of Christ’s forebears in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Since spiritual kinship was a criterion for inclu¬sion in such a list, preachers like Richard Curteys and Edwin Sandys demonstrate that Elizabeth’s family tree properly included biblical ancestors. In the chronicle history cantos, Spenser, with a similar concern to capture Elizabeth’s essential nature, provided the queen with spiritually significant ancestors from pre-history and from invention. Awareness of the cultural resources Spenser used in creating (and his first readers used in making sense of) these lists of ancestors relieves us of the burden of distilling a consistent moral and political message from Briton moniments and Antiquitie of Faerie lond.

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