These two volumes of The New Testament and Greek Literature are the magnum opus of biblical scholar Dennis R. MacDonald, outlining the profound connections between the New Testament and classical Greek poetry. MacDonald argues that the Gospel writers borrowed from established literary sources to create stories about Jesus that readers of the day would find convincing.
In Luke and Vergil MacDonald proposes that the author of Luke-Acts followed Mark’s lead in imitating Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but greatly expanded his project, especially in the Acts, but adding imitations not only of the epics but also of Euripides’ Bacchae and Plato’s Socratic dialogues. The potential imitations include spectacular miracles, official resistance, epiphanies, prison breaks, and more. The book applies mimesis criticism and uses side-by-side comparisons to show how early Christian authors portrayed the origins of Christianity as more compelling than the Augustan Golden Age.
About the Author
Dennis MacDonald is John Wesley Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the Claremont School of Theology. He previously served as the director of the Claremont Graduate University Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark and Does the New Testament Imitate Homer: Four Cases from the Acts of the Apostles.
Table of Contents
Part One: Euripides’ Bacchae and Luke-Acts
Part Two: Plato’s Socrates and Luke-Acts
Part Three: Vergil’s Odyssey-Iliad and Luke-Acts
Appendix 1. Analogous Imitations of the Bacchae in Jewish and Christian Texts
Appendix 2. Analogous Imitations of Plato’s Socrates in Christian Texts
Appendix 3. The Q+/Papias Hypothesis
Index to Classical Greek Literature
Index to the Gospels and Acts