Sunday, September 15, 2013

Further Greek Borrowing From Book Of Tobit

Taken from:


.... some readers have found in Tobit similarities to still other pagan themes, such as the legend of Admetus.18 More convincing, I  believe,   however, are points of contact with classical Greek theater. Martin  Luther observed   similarities between Tobit and Greek comedy,19 but  one is even more   impressed by resemblances that the Book of Tobit bears to a  work of Greek tragedy—the Antigone of Sophocles. In both stories the  moral stature of the heroes  is chiefly exemplified in their bravely burying  the dead in the face of official prohibition and at the risk of official  punishment. In both cases a venerable   moral tradition is maintained against a  political tyranny destructive of piety.   That same Greek drama, moreover,  provides a further parallel to the blindness   of Tobit in the character of  blind Teiresias, himself also a man of an inner   moral vision important to the  theme of the play.
Bearing just as obvious a connection with non-biblical literature, I  believe,   is the demon Asmodeus (Tobit 3:8), who is doubtless to be identified,  on purely   morphological grounds, with Aeshma Daeva, a figure well known in  ancient Iranian   religion.20 Moreover, Tobit’s nephew Ahikar (1:22) is  certainly   identical with a literary character of the same name, time, place,  and circumstances, found in the Elephantine papyri from the late fifth century  B.C.21   In short, whatever may be the case relative to questions of  historical dependency, Tobit’s cultural contacts with the ancient world of  religion, philosophy,   and literature are numerous and varied.

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