Homer's Odyssey and the Near East


Abstract


Louden's main purpose in this provocative book is to compare narratives, described by him as mythical (p. 9), in the Old Testament with tales in the Odyssey. He defines myth in the Old (and New) Testaments as 'sacred, traditional, narrative, that depicts the interrelations of mortals and gods'. Myth, he maintains, 'is especially concerned with defining what is moral or ethical behaviour for a given culture'. Greek myth is to be understood as having a dialogic relationship with Near Eastern myth and a particularly close connexion with myth in the Old Testament, but he firmly denies that Greek myth was influenced by O.T. myth (p. 11). What L. calls 'his default position' is that, direct connexion from Greece to Israel being difficult to prove, Greeks and Israelites draw on earlier Near Eastern examples of the same kind of myth.

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