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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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More Dreams and Portents

More Dreams and Portents

(p.29) 3 More Dreams and Portents
Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?

Dennis R. MacDonald

Yale University Press

This chapter puts credence to a remark made by Cicero's interlocutor that “history is full of examples” of dreams. So common was the literary dream that rhetoricians considered it a cliche, and perhaps no dream was generative of more imitations than Agamemnon's in Iliad 2. The portent of the serpent and the sparrow, too, was a popular target for imitation, and some authors, like Luke in Acts 10–11, imitated both in the same context. For clarity, the chapter groups the imitations into three categories: texts that imitate the dream only, texts that imitate the portent only, and texts that imitate the dream and the portent together.

Keywords:   history, Cicero's interlocutor, examples of dreams, cliche, literary dream, rhetoricians

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