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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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Jewish Testament or Homeric Imitation?

Jewish Testament or Homeric Imitation?

(p.93) 8 Jewish Testament or Homeric Imitation?
Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?

Dennis R. MacDonald

Yale University Press

This chapter concludes the discussion of Acts 20 and seeks to answer one simple question: Why should one abandon the rich tradition of Jewish testamentary literature in favor of a single Greek literary model to explain the composition of Paul's farewell at Miletus? The answer lies in the application of the six criteria. Criteria one and two surely apply: Hector's farewell to Andromache not only was accessible to Luke and his readers, it was a popular target for analogous imitations. The scene was not only imitated, some of its imitators apparently expected their readers to catch their allusions to it. Criteria three and four assess the density of the parallels and their relative sequence. Chapter 7 identified nine motifs shared by Homer and Luke that the author numbered according to the order of their appearance in the epic. Paul's speech begins with shared motif 2, and so does Hector's speech to Andromache.

Keywords:   rich tradition, Jewish testamentary literature, Greek literary model, Paul's farewell, Miletus

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