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In a riveting and groundbreaking collection of essays, a distinguished group of scholars examines the ways in which early Christian writers practiced mimesis the conscious imitation of literary models from the Greco-Roman world. While the study of intertextuality has influenced deeply the study of the Synoptic Gospels and other early Christian texts, few scholars of earlyIn a riveting and groundbreaking collection of essays, a distinguished group of scholars examines the ways in which early Christian writers practiced mimesis the conscious imitation of literary models from the Greco-Roman world. While the study of intertextuality has influenced deeply the study of the Synoptic Gospels and other early Christian texts, few scholars of early Christian literature have enriched their observations with studies of mimesis. The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, for instance, contains extensive imitation of Homeric and Euripidean poetry, and both Luke-Acts and Mark contain extensive imitation of the Homeric epics. These essays examine the phenomenon of mimesis and intertextuality through an in-depth examination of particular texts, ranging from the apocryphal book of Tobit to Luke-Acts and the Synoptic Gospels. Contributors include: Francois Bovon (Harvard Divinity School); Thomas Louis Brodie (Dominican House of Study, Dublin, Ireland); Ellen Finkelpearl (Scripps College); Ronald F. Hock (University of Southern California); George W. E. Nickelsburg (University of Iowa); Judith Perkins (Saint Joseph College); and Gregory J. Riley (Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University). Dennis R. MacDonald teaches at the Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University and Director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. He is the author of Christianizing Homer: The "Odyssey," Plato, and the Acts of Andrew and Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. For: Graduate students; general audience; professors; literary scholars>...

Title : Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity
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ISBN : 9781563383359
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 184 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity Reviews

  • Eric Wojciechowski
    2018-11-25 18:22

    In the sixth essay of this volume, Thomas L. Brodie writes, “In ancient composition as a whole, writers studiously reworked previous writers. The most prestigious writing of the Roman Empire, Vergil's Aeneid, involved a thorough reworking of Homer. Roman literature as a whole was largely built on that of Greece.”In the fifth essay, Gregory J. Riley asks how it was that Christianity went from being brand new to a leading religion in Rome in three hundred years. The answer, he writes, is that Christians, although using the Old Testament as their backdrop as if the opening act for Jesus, relied more on Plato, Homer and Greco-Roman literature to gain a larger audience. So where as the Jews did not fully assimilate into Roman culture, the Christians were able to much more easily by adopting it and crafting their texts in such manner. This is even though, at the same time, as Judith Perkins' essay notes, the Christian community also embraced segregation.It really is interesting how the New Testament writers wrote in Greek and yet historians acknowledgement of the influence of Greco-Roman ideas within these texts has been such a long time coming. The present volume starts with an essay by Dennis MacDonald, who's been the pioneer in this field. He examines the Book of Tobit, comparing it to scenes from the Odyssey. The next essay is from George W. E. Nickelsburg, challenging some of MacDonald's conclusions; in that, the Book of Tobit seems to be more an imitation of Jacob's story in Jubilees and the Odyssey. Mimesis everywhere.I also enjoyed the third essay by Ronald F. Hock which demonstrated the importance of Homer from the very beginnings of childhood education. It was interesting to find that mimicing Homer and learning near memorization was required. No wonder imitations were rampant and normal. The fourth essay by Ellen Finkelpearl examines pagan traditions of intertextuality in the Roman world, giving several examples. Also examined are whether or not we can conclude imitations are happening on purpose of with the mimic having an open copy of the imitation right next to them while doing it. In other words, how much of it is intentional and how much is on purpose.Then on to essays by Gregory J. Riley examining mimesis of classical ideals and then to the essay by Thomas L. Brodie, examining the Gospels' indebtedness to the Epistles (homing in on the Lord's Supper as described by Luke and 1 Corinthians). The next essay by Judith Perkins is an examination of the Greek Romances and Acts of the Martyrs where, in the romances, the danger is presented to those who journey away from the safety of the city, the Martyrs are in the most danger within the city. By refusing to be humbled by torture and imprisonment, the Christian community embraced the way they were treated to take power away from those persecuting them. Perkins writes, “The Acts defined the Christian subject as not only a sufferer but explicitly as a prisoner of the surrounding social structures.” This, to me, suggests that although the Christian community imitated and adopted the Greco-Roman culture that surrounded them, they also did their best to stay segregated.The final essay by Francois Bovon examines mimesis and intertextuality in the Acts of Philip. Unlike the other works examined in this volume, the Acts of Philip doesn't seem to have any imitations from Homer, Plato, the tragedies or, as Bovon writes, “...Jewish texts independent of a Christian appropriation.” The theme of Philip is the ever present evil in the world and generational fight to contain it.All in all, an excellent collection of essays on the subject. Well worth the immersion if one has an interest in ancient literature and reclaiming what these Christian texts were originally about.