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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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(p.146) Conclusion
Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?

Dennis R. MacDonald

Yale University Press

In conclusion, this book discusses the complex interplay between historical memory, legends, popular preaching, and literary creativity found in the composition of Acts. Even though the four cases treated in this book seem to imitate tales from the Iliad, some of them also contain traits that suggest the presence of historical memory and tradition. For example, behind Acts 1:15–26 almost certainly lurks information about the death of Judas; otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the similarities between Luke's account and Matt 27:1–10. Even though Luke seems to have modeled Peter's prison break after Iliad 24, he also knew traditions about the deaths of James and Agrippa I. Paul's farewell speech to the Ephesian elders is riddled with typically Pauline expressions and concerns, making it likely that Luke had read several of the epistles.

Keywords:   complex interplay, composition of Acts, Iliad, historical memory, tradition, literary creativity

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