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Homer's Odyssey and the Near East
     

Homer's Odyssey and the Near East

by Bruce Louden
 

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The Odyssey's larger plot is composed of a number of distinct genres of myth, all of which are extant in various Near Eastern cultures (Mesopotamian, West Semitic, Egyptian). Unexpectedly, the Near Eastern culture with which the Odyssey has the most parallels is the Old Testament. Consideration of how much of the Odyssey focuses on non-heroic episodes - hosts

Overview

The Odyssey's larger plot is composed of a number of distinct genres of myth, all of which are extant in various Near Eastern cultures (Mesopotamian, West Semitic, Egyptian). Unexpectedly, the Near Eastern culture with which the Odyssey has the most parallels is the Old Testament. Consideration of how much of the Odyssey focuses on non-heroic episodes - hosts receiving guests, a king disguised as a beggar, recognition scenes between long-separated family members - reaffirms the Odyssey's parallels with the Bible. In particular the book argues that the Odyssey is in a dialogic relationship with Genesis, which features the same three types of myth that comprise the majority of the Odyssey: theoxeny, romance (Joseph in Egypt), and Argonautic myth (Jacob winning Rachel from Laban). The Odyssey also offers intriguing parallels to the Book of Jonah, and Odysseus' treatment by the suitors offers close parallels to the Gospels' depiction of Christ in Jerusalem.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a rewarding book. L[oudon] is a literary critic blessed with analytical insight ... His studies have ranged widely, without superficiality; and his capacity for illuminating comparisons manifests itself throughout."
G. L. Huxley, Hermathena

"The study of the densely woven fabric that holds together Aegean and Near Eastern cultures since the Bronze Age continues to fascinate researchers and readers. This book is a welcome addition to recent studies, which are advancing this field by moving past the rather impressionistic and cataloguing approach that prevailed in previous decades ... Louden's nuanced and not unidirectional line of comparative work opens up new perspectives for Hellenists, as well as biblical and Near Eastern scholars ... it will be a useful reference for future research."
Carolina López-Ruiz, Classical World

"... this study will be welcomed by all who have an interest in the interaction of Greek and Near Eastern poetry, myth, and culture generally."
Annette Teffeteller, Journal of the American Oriental Society

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780511853234
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
01/06/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Bruce Louden is Professor in the Languages and Linguistics Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. His previous books are The Odyssey: Structure, Narration, and Meaning (1999) and The Iliad: Structure, Myth, and Meaning (2006).

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