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Greek Literary Influence on the Structure of Hebrew Scripture.

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posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 01:15 PM
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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 cultures.

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 doctrine.

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.




posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 02:11 PM
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Great thread! S+F.


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.


I think it might also have something to do with the pressure Hebrew scholars were under to build a national identity. In order to do that, you need contrast between you and others. You need to paint your identity against the backdrop of the other, and you need to use bright shiny colors. That makes it hard to break bread with your neighbors, so to speak, who form the dark backdrop.

👣


edit on 842MondayuAmerica/ChicagoMaruMondayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule

Yes, very true. The pressure was on and out of that came a wonderful addition to our literary ancestry.

I would recommend anyone who is interested to read the wealth of Greek Literature. Epics like the Iliad, etc, as the Bible demand a lot of concentration, but it is a very rewarding pursuit. I am currently embarking on a marathon of reading as many of the Greek Classic texts as possible. Gonna be a slow old process, but I'm getting hooked.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read. All the very best.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 03:35 PM
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I have read both Illiad and Odyssey. I highly recommend them. Homer was a good writer, imo. I suspect even Homer took much from his predecessors, as well as those living at the time to form the bulk of his work. Not discounting his own imagination.

Judaism and Christianity are indeed built on the myriad of belief, myth, and legend before them, and no doubt contemporary sources as well. S&F btw.


I have noticed so much aggression targetted at Hebrew Old Testament literature and tradition yet none directed at Homer.

Homer's followers are not warring against, and murdering their neighbors, and causing unrest in the middle east. Homer's followers are not globally aggressive. Big difference. Judaism and Christianity are historically violent and intolerant of other cultures and beliefs. Christianity especially took the Western world using violence, deception, and proselytization. As well as the destruction of writings, engravings, and "idols" of other cultures. Anything they considered competition to Christianity. That's why you see the contempt toward the bible, and its contents.


edit on 3/16/2015 by Klassified because: grammar



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 03:47 PM
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If you're going to read the ancient stories then its best to do your own translation, subtle errors are easy to creep into translations so you'd always want to go to the oldest source and do your own translation to reduce the chance of error...now it may take longer but you're more likely to get a proper translation and you can compare and contrast it versus other peoples translations and see where the differences lie



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 03:51 PM
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a reply to: Klassified

Yet you must be aware as you have read Homer that the Greeks, Babylonians and Romans were even more ruthless as we know by what the Babylonians and the Romans did to two Hebrew Temples. I don't think you have made a fair historical contrast there.

The Hebrews are a tiny culture pressed between huge empires of Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome. They have been occupied and decimated by all these empires. It is not an excuse to pick them out as a culture who have committed atrocities beyond any other nation. I don't hate Virgil and his poems because his people destroyed the Temple of my ancestors. I have just praised Greece as a nation who have been absolutely vital to Hebrew literary development and that they are.

In modern times Britain, U.S, China, Russia have all committed atrocities. It is a dog eat dog world and one must behave that way to survive as it stands. The Jews had to learn through bitter experience these survival tactics. They are surrounded by ravenous enemies who want to destroy them. They were treated shamefully in Europe. Anti Semitism is still prevalent even in Europe and U.S. Everything happens for a reason.

Personally I loathe the carnage of war. The Palestinian child matters as much as the Jewish child to me. I make no distinction, yet I will continue to stand with the modern state of Israel as necessary to the survival of the Jewish people in the modern world. Thank goodness, some very powerful people are at last in agreement with that.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 03:56 PM
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originally posted by: Maxatoria
If you're going to read the ancient stories then its best to do your own translation, subtle errors are easy to creep into translations so you'd always want to go to the oldest source and do your own translation to reduce the chance of error...now it may take longer but you're more likely to get a proper translation and you can compare and contrast it versus other peoples translations and see where the differences lie


How I wish I could. I cannot read Greek or Hebrew. I did not have a very good original education. I came from a very poor background. I have been educating myself. I made it to University which helped.

You are so right though. To read the originals is far better. I can see the lyricism in Dante's poetry and know how the Iliad rhymes so beautifully like music. Those who have had a classical education do not know how lucky they are.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 04:02 PM
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Plus, Zeus had a way of marrying the Goddess of any given region. Bringing her into the fold, instead of casting her down as an abomination. The Hebrew counterpart of Zeus was not so... accommodating.

But it's understandable. Wander the desert long enough, and you'll feel as though Mother Nature is withholding her bounty from you. That leads to resentment.

👣


edit on 919MondayuAmerica/ChicagoMaruMondayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 05:00 PM
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originally posted by: BlueMule
Plus, Zeus had a way of marrying the Goddess of any given region. Bringing her into the fold, instead of casting her down as an abomination. The Hebrew counterpart of Zeus was not so... accommodating.

But it's understandable. Wander the desert long enough, and you'll feel as though Mother Nature is withholding her bounty from you. That leads to resentment.

👣



Lol! Well nature is no longer withholding her bounty from the Jewish people now!

Monotheism, too, conquered polytheism against all the odds.

You know what Alexander did. He conquered as many people as he could all the way into India. The Hebrews certainly fraternized with the gods and goddesses of their neighbours as we know. It is not as black and white as people would like to believe. The only things Israel ever destroyed were the idols of foreign divinities on their own soil.

Who has the vitality to adapt and survive, even when they have lost their home? Who can claim to have dominated much bigger states through the stealth of trade and diaspora against all the odds of ransacking and anti Semitism?

I don't see anti Semitism accomplishing anything in the long run. Just more of the same and the Jewish people will still continue to thrive. It's their nature.

Meanwhile I will continue to read the wealth of world literature with no judgement on any particular nation, keeping an open mind. I will even get around to the German literature which boasts a rich heritage, too. I have a huge respect for Germany as my Grandmother came from there, albeit because of horrible circumstances. I don't hate that nation and I don't blame them as a culture. Politics just took a bad turn in a monstrous direction for a few short years. The cultural interchange between Germany and the German Jews continues to survive to this day; even so many traditional Jewish foods have Germanic names and surnames of Jewish people world-wide denote a German heritage.

I would say to anybody don't deprive yourselves of quality informative literature because of prejudices. It will be only you who loses out. Also, where does it end? Should I hate Jack Kerouac and not read his books because of what the U.S did to the Native Americans and what they did in Vietnam, etc? Should I hate the British for the atrocities of the Empire? Should I hate Shakespeare and boycott him because of the British Empire's sins? Should I hate Kurt Vonnegut and refuse to read his novels because of what his ancestry did to the Jews (that would be crazy because he was of German descent yet fought for the freedom of Jews)? If we follow the train of thought of blaming writers and poets for the sins of their nation we would not be doing much reading at all would we?










edit on 16-3-2015 by lonesomerimbaud because: tidy up.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 05:51 PM
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a reply to: lonesomerimbaud

Just to inform you ATS I have used this thread as an example of intellectual anti Semitism in a report to CST.

In the gentle spirit of my original post I think responses like;

"Homer's followers are not globally aggressive. Big difference. Judaism and Christianity are historically violent and intolerant of other cultures and beliefs."

and,

"The Hebrew counterpart of Zeus was not so... accommodating.

But it's understandable. Wander the desert long enough, and you'll feel as though Mother Nature is withholding her bounty from you. That leads to resentment. ",

are classic examples of intellectual anti Semitism and well beneath the belt.

It is obvious that Jewish people are being singled out on this site and being excluded. Fair enough. I will not be visiting this site again. It is too hate filled for a gentle and respectable person.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 05:52 PM
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originally posted by: lonesomerimbaud

Monotheism, too, conquered polytheism against all the odds.


Where does henotheism fit into that equation?


Who has the vitality to adapt and survive, even when they have lost their home? Who can claim to have dominated much bigger states through the stealth of trade and diaspora against all the odds of ransacking and anti Semitism?


Yeah, it's quite a testimony to the vitality of the human spirit. 💪

👣


edit on 995Monday000000America/ChicagoMar000000MondayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: lonesomerimbaud

Beneath the belt? Huh. Sorry to see that you look at it that way. I think my comments are fair observations above the belt. Maybe you are a bit too sensitive.

For the record, I have a great deal of respect for Jewish culture, and especially Jewish mysticism. I've never been accused of antisemitism before. I find it rather upsetting.

Jewish people are not being singled out on this site. Not that I've seen.

👣


edit on 072MondayuAmerica/ChicagoMaruMondayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)




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