Gospels and Greek Classics: Challenging Sources/Parallels-- Some New, Others Old (Paperback)
The rationale for this undertaking is my long-cherished conviction that, like most surviving religious literature of ancient past, the New Testament is great literature . This claim is true of the works of Homer and Hesiod in Greece, the Vedas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata in ancient India, many of the ketubim of the Hebrew Bible like the wisdom books, Psalms, and the Song of Songs. Like all poetry, the NT Gospels instruct, enlighten, and delight believers and unbelievers alike. During this particular comparative literary expedition-unlike my earlier wanderings through the jungle of Buddhist literary monuments--, I have found that the Gospel writers have also made extensive use of Greek classics during their own literary expeditions as acknowledged by Luke in the opening lines of his own Gospel (1:1-4). All this the NT writers had accomplished in addition to their well-known use of Old Testament texts. Scholars and churchmen have studiously explored the textual and contextual relationship of NT to OT (Old Testament) ad infinitum-in fact, almost ad nauseam, claiming that OT texts lurk in every nook and corner of NT to the extent of precipitously concluding that the OT alone is enough to address every aspect of NT thought. Such a conclusion is to be expected from churchmen entrusted with the custody of the proclamation of the Gospel. As I have no particular ax to grind as a self-proclaimed literary scholar, I am not a fan of this exaggerated theological stance and shall abstain from this kind of dogmatic endeavor. I shall concentrate only on a few literary nuggets from Greek classics. Younger scholars, hopefully, will continue the work, and I dedicate this short piece with all its imperfections and incompleteness to them.