Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible and the Ancient Near East

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In the last decades there has been an increasing interest in the relationship between Greek religion & culture and the Ancient Near East. This challenging book contributes greatly to this interest by studying the Near Eastern background of important Greek myths, such as those of the creation of the world and the first woman, the Flood, the Golden Fleece, the Titans and travelling seers, but also of the births of Attis and Asclepius as well as the origins of the terms ‘paradise’ and ‘magic’. It also shows that, in turn, Greek literature influenced Jewish stories of divine epiphanies and that the Greek scapegoat myths and rituals contributed to the central Christian notion of atonement.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jan N. Bremmer (Ph.D. 1979) is professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen. He has published extensively on Greek, Roman, Early Christian and contemporary religion, including Greek Religion (1994) and The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife (2002).
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Canonical and Alternative Creation Myths 1

Ch. 2 Pandora or the Creation of a Greek Eve 19

Ch. 3 The Birth of Paradise 35

Ch. 4 The First Clime: Brothers and Fratricide in the Ancient Mediterranean 57

Ch. 5 Greek Fallen Angels: Kronos and the Titans 73

Ch. 6 Near Eastern and Native Traditions in Apollodorus' Account of the Flood 101

Ch. 7 Don't Look Back: From the Wife of Lot to Orpheus and Eurydice 117

Ch. 8 Balaam, Mopsus and Melampous: Tales of Travelling Seers 133

Ch. 9 Hebrew Lishkah and Greek Lesche 153

Ch. 10 The Scapegoat between Northern Syria, Hittites, Israelites, Greeks and Early Christians 169

Ch. 11 Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Heliodorus in the Temple and Paul on the Road to Damascus 215

Ch. 12 Persian Magoi and the Birth of the Term 'Magic' 235

Ch. 13 Anaphe, Apollo Aigletes and the Origin of Asclepius 249

Ch. 14 Attis: A Greek God in Anatolian Pessinous and Catullan Rome 267

Ch. 15 The Myth of the Golden Fleece 303

Appendix I Genesis 1.1: A Jewish Response to a Persian Challenge? 339

Appendix II Magic and Religion? 347

Appendix III The Spelling and Meaning of the Name Megabyxos 353

Bibliography 357

Index of Names, Subjects and Passages 401

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