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Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?Four Cases from the Acts of the Apostles$
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Dennis R. MacDonald

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300097702

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300097702.001.0001

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Priam's Escape from Achilles and Its Imitators

Priam's Escape from Achilles and Its Imitators

Chapter:
(p.123) 12 Priam's Escape from Achilles and Its Imitators
Source:
Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?
Author(s):

Dennis R. MacDonald

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300097702.003.0013

This chapter shows how ancient literature is peppered with stories of gods, heroes, or “divine men” escaping dangerous situations by means of magically opening doors. In fact, in the Acts of the Apostles, one finds three prison escapes: two by Peter and one by Paul. Some scholars have interpreted the empty tomb stories in the gospels as adaptations of the tale-type, and the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles employ the genre repeatedly. Over a dozen other examples appear in ancient texts. According to Acts 12, while Peter slept in prison, an angel woke him and facilitated his escape by opening the prison doors and apparently shedding sleep on the guards. Otto Weinreich, in 1929, published an extensive treatment of ancient escape stories that has dominated the discussion ever since.

Keywords:   ancient literature, prison escapes, tale-type, apocryphal Acts, Otto Weinreich

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