Master of Arts (M.A.)
Degree Granting Department
Pablo Brescia, Ph.D.
Madeline Cámara, Ph.D.
Heike Scharm, Ph.D.
Jorge Luis Borges, Latin-American Literature, Religion
Jorge Luis Borges is considered by many to be a pioneering author in 20th-century Latin American literature. Although he had a wide variety of themes and leimotifs in his literature, one of his most apparent was religion. However, given that he was agnostic, the way in which Borges often utilized it varied, creating a tangled web of many different religions and traditions in his literature. Further, the religious representations one sees in his literature serve a greater purpose by allowing him to both uncover his own concept of literary creation while at the same time exploring philosophical and metaphysical themes. This analysis explores the ways in which Borges represents religions and how the religious symbolism seen within his short stories are a means of purporting philosophical and metaphysical questions, specifically the ideas of the infiniteness of time and space, the absurdity of the human condition, and man’s incapacity to understand how the world works, among others. The analysis will begin with a discussion of Borges’ strong affinity for Judaism and demonstrate how although his concept of what Judaism is varies, the religion as a whole serves as a branch towards these metaphysical ideas. In particular, I will analyze the stories “El milagro secreto”, “La muerte y la brújula”, and “El Aleph”. Many of these same philosophical and metaphysical ideas can be see in Borges’ representations of Christianity, represented here with “Tres versiones de Judas” and “El evangelio según san Marcos”. Finally, I will also discuss Borges’ representations of other religions, such as Islam and the Maya religion, in order to show that his questioning of metaphysical concepts extends beyond Judaism and Christianity. In this case, I will discuss the stories “Los dos reyes y los dos laberintos”, “La escritura del dios”, “La secta del Fénix”, and “Las ruinas circulares”.
Scholar Commons Citation
West, Rachel K., ""Ocurrió la unión con la divinidad, con el universo": La representación de la religión en los cuentos de Jorge Luis Borges" (2017). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.