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The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark
The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark
by Dennis R. MacDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough case for the Allegory of Mark, 12 Aug 2013
As many, many scholars have already established, the gospels as a whole have taken a hell of a lot from old testament literature in order to get Jesus and others to "fulfil" prophecies of all sorts.
However, it was always believed there was at least a basic chronological foundation underlining what were clearly episodes of grandiose fiction; for example, ask yourself what you would have done if you were Pontius Pilate when you'd been told some Jewish rebel had just torn through the main Jewish temple area; the gospel explanations don't make sense.
That and the mention of all the other miracles, the contradictions and so forth make it pretty clear that the authors were engaging in just a little bit of imaginative creativity.

Now, MacDonald and others have shockingly concluded that the first of the written gospels (most scholars, whether evangelical or secular in nature agree that Mark was written first due to the tendency of the others to edit and add details to his gospel) was based and modelled on the Homeric epics, mostly the Odyssey, as he writes about a Jewish son of God and fulfiller of Jewish prophesy, in a Greek epic wrapper; shocking is certainly the word to use; my jaw nearly hit the friggin' floor when I first was told this.

So, how good a case does the author make?
MacDonald establishes six literary criteria for establishing his claims:

1) Accessibility - Did Mark have access to Homer and how common was Homeric literature in his time in Greek speaking areas?

2) Analogy - Were others engaging in Homeric parallels? Were they mimicking, copying, mocking, parodying, transvaluing Homer? If so, how so?

3) Density - How many contacts are there between hypertext (Mark) and hypotext (Homer)? How many repetitions of phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc?

4) Order / sequence - Is there consistency of order between episodes in both texts?

5) Distinctiveness - How many peculiar events / motifs / characterisations occur in both texts?

6) Interpretability - How much does the hypotext make sense of the hypertext?

Examples of satisfying given criteria:

1) Yes, MacDonald gives scholarly references for this; from the author: "Homer was in the air that Mark's readers breathed", p8.

2) Definitely yes, from Vergil (the Aeneid) to Plato (the Republic) to Plutarch (Morals / Moralia) to Luke's Acts and the Acts of Andrew; MacDonald lists and provides details for these and others.

3) Throughout the entire book, MacDonald gives references to Mark sharing the same or very similar Greek to Homer. One such example is the devouring of widows' houses in both episodes, where both groups (the suitors in Homer, the Pharisees in Mark) are to be rightly punished. There's lots more where that came from. Note: bear in mind that Mark, in writing his stories for lower class gentiles, very much dumbed down the Greek, so we shouldn't expect to see grand Homeric meter and long warm-up speeches between two opponents, hence we should not see exactly the same Greek being used. Mark's Jesus is blunt and to the point for a good reason.

4) Comparisons between Jesus' visit to Gerasenes and Odysseus' unfortunate journey to the isle of the Cyclopses provide many orderly parallels: both leaders have 12 crew / followers, they both immediately encounter an enemy (next we see direct inversion of circumstances), enemy asks hero's name (or vice versa), the reply is "I am nobody" / "I am Legion, for we are many", both heroes defeat the enemies, crew / demons are turned into / cast into swine (Mark borrowed this idea from Odysseus' encounter with Circe), both groups go back to shore and board their boats, both refuse requests of the antagonists to stay / allow them to travel with them. Again, MacDonald provides boatloads of other comparisons.

5) Example would be the two feasts in Mark (where the disciples strangely question Jesus both times about the possibility of what just happened) and two separate feasts in the Odyssey.

6) One of the most fascinating examples would involve one of the most enigmatic characters in the entirety of the gospels - the unknown woman who anoints Jesus after mysteriously breaking open the alabaster box containing the very expensive anointing oil(unknown in Mark, John later attributes her as Mary Magdalene). I won't provide details here, just read. This example, amongst others, demonstrates that Mark is leaving literary flags back to his Homeric source, as he similarly (and more obviously) does with the reference to Boanerges (Sons of Thunder), leaving us to conclude he is writing allegory not documentary.

As MacDonald demonstrates, there also seem to be many parallels in general between Odysseus / Achilles / Hector and Mark's Jesus: both Jesus and Odysseus are carpenters (certain episodes in the Odyssey make it clear that the hero is very sufficient at, erm....putting stuff together), both men go on long sea voyages full of peril, sailing with followers / crew members who at first seem trustworthy, reliable and faithful but who eventually turn out to be distrusting, disloyal, treacherous or just buffoon incompetent; they return to homes full of enemies who will get their comeuppance; the death of Jesus seems to parallel that of Hector in the Iliad, wherein the bodies are preserved and handed over to those who anoint and take care of them.

In conclusion:
It was difficult to argue for reliability of the gospels before reading 'The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark'; after reading it, I cannot see how anyone can seriously argue that the gospels have any historical reliability at all to them; even writers at had to concede that Mark had to have used Homer as a material source (whilst simultaneously arguing that the chronological foundations for a gospel Jesus are still safe and sound!)
If we can establish characters and episodes from other (preferably contemporary and secular) sources, fine, otherwise there is nothing the gospels can offer us historically, and in light of what Mark has written the genesis story of Jesus' earthly existence can only clearly be classified as Greco-Jewish allegory.

The remaining question? I guess pretty much the same one we had before this book:
Who was Jesus anyway? The conclusion to which will be quite different after 'Homer's Revelation', courtesy of Dennis R MacDonald.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: 3 Dimensions of Murder (PC DVD)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: 3 Dimensions of Murder (PC DVD)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CSI: Service Resumed in 3D, 1 April 2006
In short, CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder is pretty much the same as all of the previous CSI games with the added 3rd dimension.
The 3D look does take a tiny bit of getting used to, but before long you'll be familiar with the usual CSI formula.
The 3D character models do share a fair likeness with the real life actors/actresses (though the left side of Warrick's face looks like it's had facial hair scarred into his face).
Aside from slightly different application of collection/detection tools and the use of 3D to rotate the camera around certain points/objects the only other gameplay difference is the addition of the Mobile Analysis Unit (MAU) - a mobile mini-lab to use at the scene of the crime in certain cases. The only difference this makes is having to process initial prints/DNA samples etc at the scene of the crime instead of at CSI HQ. To be honest, there is little point in the MAU, as you're processing evidence the same as usual.
Bad news - both the Sara Sidle and Katherine Willows characters are not voiced by their TV actresses. As for the likenesses, Sara's is so-so and is noticeably not Jorja Fox.
Katherine's voiceover isn't too bad - sometimes you'll notice the differences, sometimes not. Not a major biggie I suppose, just a little disappointing. The rest of the lead cast are voiced by the TV actors.
In one intensive session from morning 'till evening, any regular CSI game player should have all of the games five cases rapped up, mainly due to how easy the cases are to solve and there are no end of game bonuses like in previous games to give you an incentive to complete all cases with a master rating (which I did on my first go - an indication of how easy it is to get the master rating). If you want it to last longer - do not play this on normal difficulty setting, but even with the difficulty bumped up it's not all that tough.
The game runs just dandy on my 1.2Ghz, 768Mb RAM, 256Mb graphics card system with approximate loading times of 10 seconds between different locations the only technical gripe. Pretty good seeing as the box recommends a 2Ghz machine.
Overall, if you're a fan of previous CSI games and have been waiting for exactly the same thing in 3D - then step right up and get stuck in.
If you wasn't previously a fan, then there is very little here to help sway your opinion.

Resident Evil 2 (GameCube)
Resident Evil 2 (GameCube)

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great game!!!, 2 Sep 2003
This game was (and still is) classic zombie horror at it's scariest best when it was released for the Playstation.
When Capcom decided to release this on the GC, I was delerious with exitement. After seeing what Capcom had done with the Resident Evil 1 GC release (total graphics overhaul, new FMV's, some new elements, new character animations), the re-release of the best survival horror game of all time, and Resident Evil 1's younger brother was looking to be something special.
Then I finally managed to get my hands on the Gamecube version......and there is no virtually no difference at all between this and the PSX version. In fact, I think I remember the PC version looking better than this.
Now, before anyone starts with the "graphics are'nt everything" argument, please let me explain:
When someone asks me to pay for a game, I'm not buying it so I can play a game that has been ported - lock, stock and barrel to another machine. But that's exactly what Capcom have done, though they have ever so slightly touched up some of the textures. But they're asking for the privilege. Sod off!!
When I pay that kind of money, I want to know that the team who developed THAT PARTICULAR CONVERSION, spent a lot of time and effort making it as good as it can be. THIS ISN'T THAT GAME!
For those who are new to the Resident Evil series, and are considering buying this - get the PSX version. You can probably get it for a fiver and you are missing NOTHING by buying the PSX version over the GC version.
If you don't own a PSX, or a PS2 but want to play this - I strongly urge you to buy a PSX. It's relatively cheap and there is an incredible range of dirt cheap, but quality titles out there for it.
I feel sad saying this, but there is just nothing here to tempt me into shelling 40 of my hard earned cash on a conversion Capcom didn't improve in any way.
With Resident Evil 4 looming large, maybe they just did'nt have time to do anything with this.
Sorry people, but I cannot recommend this version of a great game.

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