Dennis R. MacDonald, "Christianizing Homer: The Odyssey, Plato, and the Acts of Andrew"
1994 | pages: 368 | ISBN: 0195087224 | PDF | 18,1 mb
This study focuses on the apocryphal Acts of Andrew (c. 200 CE), which purports to tell the story of the travels, miracles, and martyrdom of the apostle Andrew. Traditional scholarship has looked for the background of such writings in Jewish and Christian scriptures. MacDonald, however, breaks with that model and looks to classic literature for the sources of this story. Specifically, he argues that the Acts represent an attempt to transform Greco-Roman myth into Christian narrative categories by telling the story of Andrew in terms of Homeric epic, in particular the Odyssey. MacDonald presents a point-by-point comparison of the two works, finding the resemblances so strong, numerous, and tendentious that they virtually compel the reader to consider the Acts a transformative "rewriting" of the epic. This discovery not only sheds valuable light on the uses of Homer in the early church but also significantly contributes to our understanding of the reception of Homer in the empire as a whole.
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