The Hebrew Old Testament is a collection of literary cultural narratives in the same sense as Greek literature. The various books that form the Old
Testament are a library of Hebrew literary tradition. There are many pseudopigraphic books that are not found in the modern Old Testament, left out
for various reasons according to the scholars decisions who had authority over this canon of literature, which should also be valued as a historical
record of Hebrew culture and development.
I would compare much of the content of these Hebrew books to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as the central cultural iconic texts of the respective
Out of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem and the exile of the Hebrews into Babylonian captivity came a reneissance of Hebrew culture. While
in captivity the Hebrews would have been exposed to a wealth of literature from Persia and beyond. I would conjecture that even Homer's Iliad and
Odyssy may have been available to these Hebrews alongside other classical Greek literature. It fits very well with the time period.
The subject matter of the Iliad was to the ancient Greeks around the time of the Babylon Empire as religious and taken as literally as the subject
matter of the Hebrew tradition. The mass of people would have believed literally in what Homer had written down from the orated poetry at his disposal
as the true relationship of humanity with the gods and goddesses featured in his epics and it would have been a matter of faith and religious
I am of the opinion that the personages of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, etc are all based in some respect on real history in the same way as Homer's
personages in his epic poems. I am entertaining the crude beginnings of a theory that the Hebrew scholars in Babylon were highly influenced by Persian
literature and Greek literature also. It may be that these scholars were driven to begin a process of forming their own body of literature as a result
of their exposure to the wealth of geographically diverse literature present in the Babylonian Kingdom.
Homer's Iliad was in circulation in the 5th century BC. Many Bible scholars pin point the first writing down in earnest of the Hebrew myths, history
and orated poetry to be at this time as a result of the exile. Yes, the factor that they had to present their Babylon over lords at the time with a
historical claim to the land of Israel was predominant. I would also suggest that what literature they had been exposed to would have influenced them
greatly as to the structure and formation of their own literature.
The next revolution in Hebrew literary tradition came during the period when the texts were translated into the Greek Koine Septuagint, began as early
as the 2nd century BC. Here again there was another opportunity of Greek influence, which I am positive had a very significant further influence upon
the structure of Hebrew literature.
It hardly needs saying that the Christian literature of the New Testament was largely composed originally in the Greek language. No doubt there is a
huge Greek influence upon the origins of the Christian religion.
I have here attempted to present the beginnings of a theory of the essential influence of Greek and Persian culture upon Hebrew literature as a model
to emulate in structure (not content; that is another topic altogether).
I have noticed so much aggression targetted at Hebrew Old Testament literature and tradition yet none directed at Homer. The only excuse I can find
for this is the fear that Hebrew literature is still affecting the beliefs of people in the modern age. This seems to greatly perturb people yet I
have no such fears. Most of our world still uses myth and legend as parts of a structure of religious doctrine. Perhaps we are emerging from the hold
myth has woven about us, but it will be a slow process. However, we should not treat our collective history so contemptibly and the literature that
records it. There is no reason to fear Homer, Plato, Socrates and the others as there is no reason to fear the Hebrew canon of literature. Perhaps
our lives are less imbibed with meaning than those who were animated with belief in super nature and all the more lacking in colour as a result. All
these ancient texts of literature are sacred because they are records of what we were and out of which we have developed.
edit on 16-3-2015 by lonesomerimbaud because: punctuation.