Justifying the 1745 Anti‐Jacobite Campaign*
The libretto for Judas Macchabaeus was written by Thomas Morell in the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. The subject‐matter is taken from the Apocrypha, and in some places the libretto quotes the biblical text verbatim. However, in other places it deviates significantly from its source text, and these deviations can be shown to have a theological rationale. In Part I of the libretto, Morell rewrites the biblical source in order to present the military campaign as morally justified and divinely inspired, and as being conducted in accordance with what he understood as the principles of righteous warfare. Parts II and III are in some ways closer to the biblical source text, but they too show manipulation of the events in the narrative to convey strong messages of divine approval for British Protestantism. All of this serves to justify the anti‐Jacobite campaign and to validate the reigning Hanoverian monarchy.
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