Homer was the gateway to education, to the skills of reading and
writing. These skills were necessary for the nascent Church.
Knowledge of Homer's writings was a sign of Greekness, of
at-home-ness in the society. Education was embedded in the
mythology, immorality and idolatry of these writings. This
challenged the Christians. This study presents how Christians
responded to this. The opinions varied from rejection of Homer and
all pagan literature, considering them works of the Devil, to
critical involvement with this literature.This study attempts to
trace the discourse on Homer and education among the Christians
back to the New Testament. The topic does not come to the surface,
but it is argued that in Paul's letters contrasting attitudes
towards the propaideutic logic and the philosophical principle of
usus (making right use of) are present. He opposed a logic wherein
Christian faith represented the peak of education, the culmination
of liberal studies. In his instruction on how to relate to the
pagan world, Paul argues in accordance with the principle of usus.
The New Testament is not so dependent upon the Homeric poems, as
assumed by some scholars.The first Christians faced two
hermeneutical challenges of fundamental importnce: that of
interpreting the Old Testament and how to cope with the Greek
legacy embedded in Homer. The latter is not explicitly raised in
the New Testament. But since the art of interpreting any text,
presupposes reading skills, conveyed through liberal studies, the
Homeric challenge must have been of outmost importance.
T. & T. Clark
|Country of origin:
||Library of New Testament Studies
Karl Olav Sandnes
||Electronic book text - Windows
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