Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Committee Member

Richard Harp, Chair

Second Committee Member

Joe McCullough

Third Committee Member

Darlene Unrue

Graduate Faculty Representative

Ralph Beuchler

Number of Pages



The majority of criticism and scholarship devoted to the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne takes for granted the relationship between Hawthorne and the Bible, focusing instead upon theology and philosophy. This work proposes that the Bible was an important and pervasive influence in Hawthorne's fiction. The Bible provides Hawthorne with numerous resources for both his artistic and moral concerns. At a basic level the Bible provides a popular platform that allows Hawthorne to immediately connect with his contemporary audience who were intimately familiar with the Bible. More importantly, though, are the vast examples and perspectives of the human condition and human experience found in the Bible. The historical aspect of the Bible gave depth to Hawthorne's creativity. The moral aspect of the Bible provided themes and ideas around which Hawthorne could craft his own stories. Ultimately the central position of the Bible in the Western tradition offers Hawthorne a touchstone from which to pursue his artistry as did his favorite authors: John Bunyan, John Milton. and Edmund Spenser.

This work provides a sustained study of the biblical contexts of Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction. I begin by establishing Hawthorne's familiarity with and reverence for the Bible. I then explore the connections between a selection of his characters and the biblical figures they are named after. Next, I explore the focused parallels and analogues between specific works of fiction and specific figures and events taken from the Bible. Finally, I explore the broader biblical themes derived from the story of the Fall, which captivated Hawthorne and appears throughout numerous of his works. This study provides a focused and substantial exploration of the biblical contexts of Hawthorne's fiction. Through these biblical contexts one can gain additional insight to Hawthorne's artistic and moral concerns as expressed in his writing.


Bible; Bible and literature; Criticism and interpretation; Eden; Ethics; Hawthorne; Nathaniel; 1804-1864; Garden of Eden; Heart; Humanity; Language; literature and linguistics; Morality; Penitence; Philosophy; religion and theology; Repentance


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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