Here was the hook: But the first few pages put a different image in mind — it was Pottersville without benefit of George Bailey. The letters in to Miss Lonelyhearts were just so bleak.
Even if every argument that MacDonald offers is valid, there is still a complex of material and arguments the Pauline letters, for example that his thesis has no effect upon at all. That said, what of this work hereafter HEGM for short?
Has it accomplished its goal of proving that the Gospel of Mark is a transvaluation and imitation of portions of the Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey? Does it show that as Skeptics seem to think, but as MacDonald himself only implies now and then Mark took material from Homer and turned it into stories of Jesus with no basis in actual history?
It turns out that even scholars who give Mark about as much historical credence as they would to fiction are not convinced that MacDonald has hit the mark as much as he thinks, and a review in Catholic Biblical Quarterly has noted some of the same weaknesses I have.
We can express these in the form of questions. Does the practice of mimesis imitation that HEGM refers to appear in other works of ancient history as well?
HEGM is extremely vague on this point. Although allusions were made, briefly, to Josephus and Plutarch using the technique to report what was apparently intended to be historical data, most of HEGM's focus was on novels and non-historical works that used the technique.
The point of my question was this: If Mark was using a technique that was used also by those who recorded by their intent serious history, then any idea that mimesis is, as a practice, uniquely associated with relating fiction, cannot be appealed to. HEGM itself does not explicitly state that mimesis was always and uniquely associated with fiction.
This is a conclusion that it has implicitly offered. I have found, however, that mimesis was a technique employed by all forms of ancient literature -- history included. Malina and Neyrey report in Portraits of Paul  what I find to be an additional reason for mimesis.
One form of support for testimony was "probabilities" -- verification from general experience. Rhetoriticians noted that when setting forth a statement to a judge or jury, orators should "pay attention to the question of whether he will find his hearers possessed of a personal knowledge of the things of which he is speaking, as that is the sort of statement they are most likely to believe.
When Bible stories follow typical forms, they do so for this very purpose. Using words and phrases from the Old Testament accomplished a similar purpose; one may also suspect that any place where Mark may be following Homer in structure or verbiage, he is doing the same thing for his Gentile readers.
Material is phrased in such a way as to appear verifiable from experience. Of course this says nothing about historicity, but it gives ancient writers every motive to report what they say, true or false, in terms recognizable from previous experience.
This relates as well to the ancient prejudice against anything new. Casting new things in old terms or relating it to the old was a way of trying to gain acceptance for the new.
If Mark imitates Homer, he has every reason to do so, and thereby offer no reason why we should argue for fabrication on these grounds alone. This now leads to our second issue: How do we know when, or if, an incidence of mimesis in a historical work is actually a fiction?
The answer is simple -- we know it by applying the same criteria and questions of historicity that we would to anything that was not mimesis. That there is no way certain parallels could have been arrived at by means of actual historical events. In contrast, secular scholars who have studied mimesis do not automatically assume that when they see mimesis in a historical work, they are encountering fiction.
Rather, they apply to the imitative passages the same criteria for determining historicity that they would anywhere else -- in essence, they ask, "Is this plausible as history? Could the author have known this? Furthermore, the levels of mimesis found are much higher as a whole than even those HEGM claims to find.
There are also certain a priori arguments that MacDonald never addresses. Mark would have had to be immensely subtle and learned to construct the sort of things which HEGM attributes to him.
Why did no one pick up on the parallels before, including the 19th-century German Skeptics who were equally unfriendly to the texts of Homer and of the Bible?
And most of all what did Mark think he was doing? Did he really make up the Resurrection story just from his reading of Iliad 24?Don't miss the experience» Uncategorized The Easiest Way To Gain Many More Pet Sitting Clients.
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