Fiction as History: Nero to Julian Paperback – Mar 29 1997
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"[Bowersock] uses pagan prose fiction produced in Greek and Latin during the early Christian era to investigate the complex relations between 'historical' and 'fictional' truths. . . and concludes that even in late antiquity the great novelists appealed to Christians as much as to pagans."--"New Testament Abstracts
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In the second century of our era, probably in the final decade of the reign of the philosophic emperor Marcus Aurelius (the years from 170 to 180), two very different Greek writers addressed a problem that conspicuously unsettled thoughtful people of the time. Read the first page
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This being such a fine piece of work, why do I only award it four stars instead of five? Because Bowersock is plainly terrified of his own results. He does not want to say out loud that a generation that lived in the reign of Nero (i.e. within living memory of Christ) had a clear understanding of Transubstantiation; he does not want to say out loud that, far from being obscure and unknown, Christianity was a major cultural leaven from a very early period; above all, he would sew his own lips shut rather than admit that every piece of his excellent analysis goes to reinforce the notion of a historical Jesus within the terms and parameters of the Gospels. Professor Bowersock is - unfortunately for him - a widely respected figure in the academic establishment. He certainly would lose caste among his scholarly colleagues if he were more explicit about what he has to say; however, he must at least be complimented on having done nothing to disguise or conceal, as more than one other academic has done, the tendency of his results.
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