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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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Local Legend or Homeric Imitation?

Local Legend or Homeric Imitation?

(p.56) 5 Local Legend or Homeric Imitation?
Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?

Dennis R. MacDonald

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the six criteria for detecting mimesis: accessibility, analogy, density, order, distinctive traits, and interpretability. The first criterion is the availability of the proposed model. Luke and his educated readers clearly could have known Agamemnon's lying dream and the portent at Aulis. The Iliad was the most famous book in Greek antiquity, and surviving school exercises witness to it as the most common mimetic target for ancient education. The second criterion is analogy, evidence that other authors used the same proposed model for their creations. Imitations of the lying dream appear in the Odyssey, Lucan, Vergil, and Statius. Criterion three concerns the density of the parallels, and criterion for their order. A case for imitation strengthens with an accumulation of parallels, especially if they appear in the same sequence.

Keywords:   six criteria, mimesis, accessibility, analogy, density, order, distinctive traits, interpretability

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