1st Edition

Greek Myth and the Bible

ISBN 9781138328587
Published November 15, 2018 by Routledge
242 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

Since the nineteenth-century rediscovery of the Gilgamesh epic, we have known that the Bible imports narratives from outside of Israelite culture, refiguring them for its own audience. Only more recently, however, has come the realization that Greek culture is also a prominent source of biblical narratives.


Greek Myth and the Bible argues that classical mythological literature and the biblical texts were composed in a dialogic relationship. Louden examines a variety of Greek myths from a range of sources, analyzing parallels between biblical episodes and Hesiod, Euripides, Argonautic myth, selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Homeric epic.


This fascinating volume offers a starting point for debate and discussion of these cultural and literary exchanges and adaptations in the wider Mediterranean world and will be an invaluable resource to students of the Hebrew Bible and the influence of Greek myth.

Table of Contents


Part I: The Hebrew Bible

Chapter 1: Iapetós and Japheth: Hesiod’s Theogony, Iliad 15.187-93, and Genesis 9-10

Chapter 2: Euripides’ Ion and the Genesis Patriarchs

Chapter 3: Jason, Hera, Medea, and Aietes; Jacob, Rebecca, Rachel, and Laban: Argonautic Myth and Genesis 27-33

Chapter 4: Euripides’ Hecuba and Jael (Judges 4-5)

Part II: New Testament

Chapter 5: The oath that cannot be taken back: Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.751-2.400, Mark 6 and Matthew 14 (cf. Iliad 19; Genesis 27)

Chapter 6: Luke 24 and Homer: Odyssean Theoxeny, Iliad 24, and Postponed Recognition.

Chapter 7: Euripides’ Alcestis and John’s Lazarus: John 11:1-44, 12:1-8

Chapter 8: Hesiod’s Theogony and the Book of Revelation 4, 12, and 20

Chapter 9: Ovid’s Palace of the Sun (Metamorphoses 2.1-30) and Revelation 4:2-8

Chapter10: Retrospective Prophecy and the Vision in Aeneid 6, Ovid, and the Book of Revelation




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Bruce Louden is Professor in the Department of Language and Linguistics, the Humanities Program, and Philosophy, at the University of Texas at El Paso, USA.

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Author - Bruce  Louden

Bruce Louden

Professor, Languages & Linguistics, Humanities, and Philosophy, University of Texas El Paso
El Paso, TX, U.S.A.

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"This remarkable book undertakes to show that Greek myths were available to the writers of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament to serve both as models and as foils for their own religious purposes, just as John Milton adapted classical myths to make them fit Satan. Louden brings to light quite unexpected congruences from Homer to Euripides and shows repeatedly how old polytheistic stories could be reshaped as Biblical narratives about a single god, from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. Our picture of the complex dialog between Judaeo-Christian and pagan literature will never be quite the same." - Richard Janko, University of Michigan, USA


"I thoroughly enjoyed reading Greek Myth and the Bible and am impressed by its detailed and highly original arguments. It never occurred to me that stories in the Old and especially New Testaments bore so many similarities to Greek and Roman myths. While skeptics like me might be unwilling to see direct influence of Greek and Roman texts on the scriptural writers, Old and New, Louden has demonstrated, and remarkably so, that stories in both traditions have been shaped by earlier strata of traditional tales and in ways that allow for a monotheistic faith." - James J. Clauss, Bryn Mawr Classical Review