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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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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