Classical Greek Models of the Gospels and Acts: Studies in Mimesis Criticism. Edited by Mark G. Bilby, Michael Kochenash, and Margaret Froelich. Claremont, CA: Claremont Press, 2018.
Thank you to the scholars who read an advanced copy of the book and generously provided blurbs!
“The volume honors the life’s work of Dennis MacDonald by showcasing the voices of a new generation of scholars who engage with his methods and insights on how to appreciate the influence of classical literature on the creative process that led to the writings included in the New Testament. For those colleagues who have never been exposed to such studies, the contributions open a window to an impressive variety of reactions, often connecting standard historical assumptions with an entirely new vision that transcends the classical array of exegetical methods and ventures into the realm of artistic expression through imitation of literary role models. In antiquity, higher education immersed students into mimetic exercises to train them as public speakers. The authors and editors, whose writings have found their way into the canonical collection were no exceptions.” – David Trobisch, Technische Universität Dresden
“New insights and innovations in scholarly methodology generally rely upon a single person who boldly puts them forward and resolutely withstands the criticism of skeptics. Whether or not such ideas prevail depends largely on the tenacity, skill and eloquence of the innovator’s students who have experienced the potential of their teacher’s ideas to generate their own insights. In this collection, the students of Dennis R. MacDonald have justly honored their debt to their teacher and have demonstrated the merits of mimesis criticism, a methodology pioneered by MacDonald. These keen, but clear-eyed students, deftly ply the tools of mimesis criticism to build up the body of evidence substantiating that early Christian authors, like their Greco-Roman contemporaries, imitated the works of revered authors such as Euripides to craft meaningful narratives.” – Jo-Ann Brandt, Goshen College
“‘Mimesis criticism,’ championed by Dennis R. MacDonald, argues that early Christian sources, especially Mark, Luke-Acts, and John, model much of their narratives on Homer, Euripides, and other classical texts. Classical Greek Models contributes substantially to the debates that MacDonald’s approach to intertextuality has generated. While it includes and engages critiques of the method, it extends and applies it in creative ways. While readers will no doubt find the examples of mimesis variously persuasive, the essays in this volume overall offer stimulating insights into the complex literary dynamics of early Christian literature in its Greco-Roman context. – Harold Attridge, Yale University
“Dennis R. MacDonald, whose essay concludes this volume, is the pioneer in employing mimesis criticism to illuminate narratives in the New Testament. His studies have called attention to striking reflections in Christian writings of well-known Greek and Latin literature—Homer, Euripides, and Vergil among them. In Classical Greek Models of the Gospels and Acts, Mark Bilby, Michael Kochenash, and Margaret Froelich have collected a number of studies that call for the mainstreaming of mimesis criticism and demonstrate its value in placing the New Testament within the context of that literature that was familiar to its first readers.” – Joseph Tyson, Southern Methodist University
“What is Mimesis Criticism? This volume of essays critically engages mimesis criticism and the stimulating work of Dennis MacDonald in locating NT writings in relation to classical Greek and Latin literary works. These essays are explanatory, evaluative, and envisioning. Sceptics, inquirers, and the convinced welcome.” – Warren Carter, Brite Divinity School