Is anyone familiar with Gotthold Lessing's poem Nathan the Wise? In the poem, the main character, Nathan, who is a Jew, avoids claiming that a Moslem, Christian, or Jew is truest and best by telling a parable of three rings, in which three brothers, after much struggle, end living harmoniously, rather than at war b/c they don't know which was the true and original ring.
The parable is taken from the Decameron, and appears in several other works, but I'm not sure if any contemporary writers use this theme...besides Whittemore of course. The notion of religious tolerance looms largely in the Quartet. The Sinai Bible sort of serves as the true and original ring. I love too that the authors were a blind man and a scribe, which gives EW a kind of Homeric quality. I wonder if at any point EW himself had studied or read for pleasure these works. Any thoughts?