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Lecture 4

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Boston College
THEO 1002
Martha Marie Morrison

1/23/14 Lecture 4 • Greek world was centered on the polis (cities) of Greece o Each city had own identity, culture, character  Most familiar with Athens • With coming of Alexander the Great, polis will diminish o Alexander the Great came from Macedonia  His father, Phillip, was king and was to bring Macedon to the forefront of history, he would conquer. He resented the fact that Macedonia was considered primitive by the Greeks. • Vowed that his son, who would inherit what he already conquered, would never have to suffer that indignity o Hired the best tutors, including Aristotle, to instruct Alexander o Alexander was a great horseman, swordsman, great student, interested in the world and philosophy, and particularly fascinated by the works of Homer – the Iliad and the Odyssey  Conquered Greece  Conducted wars against the Persians through Babylon • Controlled the 3 empires o United the Greek world with the ancient near east • Wherever Alexander went, he respected local religions and alters o Would be “pharaoh,” not king, of Egypt and went through the rituals that pharaohs traditionally went through - people loved him o In Babylon, he went into temple of Marduk and went through the New Years’ festival process, received double horn crown of king of Babylon o Loved Persian clothes and architecture • On his way back to Babylon after a campaign, he felt ill and went to Babylon o Intended to make Babylon the capital of his empire  Died there, though • Brief reign, young man • In tradition, Alexander was the son of Zeus o Alexander’s mother pulled a Mary – got pregnant while Phillip was away, told that shew as visited by the divine Zeus and Phillip had privilege of being Zeus’ son’s father on Earth  Alexander was considered the new Hercules – he is a hardworking, struggling, hero who ascends to heaven • People pray to Alexander and his burial place in Alexandria in Egypt was a pilgrimage destination o Shown wearing lion headdress and cloak • As Alexander conquered, established Greek centers o Where Greek influence in literature, art, and philosophy were to spread to surrounding areas  Felt as far away as Gandhara region of India • First free-standing Buddha looks for all the world like an Ancient Greek statue • Empire gets carved up after his death o Two of his generals, Seleucus and Ptolemy, will inherit Syria and Mesopotamia (S) and Egypt (P)  Back where we started in the sense that Judah is once more in the middle between a kingdom based in Egypt and Mesopotamia • Greek now becomes the lingua franca (international language) o Jewish communities of the diaspora world no longer knew Hebrew – only spoke Greek  Cut off from the text and Hebrew scriptures • Response: Writing of the Septuagint – Greek translation of Hebrew scripture o “Work of the 70” – came up with 72 Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures  Results: Greek speaking Jews could read the text. This was the version of the Old Testament that was being discussed and read in the synagogues in Alexander’s empire in the west. • When the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, it quotes the GREEK version, NOT the Hebrew version • Now these texts become available to Greek speaking non-Jews (Gentiles) who are interested/wish to read the materials o From some certain texts, there are portions added in Greek  Sometimes done to fill in missing stuff • Greek gods/religion o Polytheistic o Many gods are held in place by Zeus, who is father and leader of the gods  Not unlike the gods of the enuma elish – gods are natural forces and
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