Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jesus studied the ancient Greeks?

I recently finished reading 'The Oresteia' by Aeschylus (c. 525 BC/524 BC – c. 456 BC/455 BC), the ancient Greek playwright considered as the father of tragedy.

In the first play, 'Agamemnon', consider these lines (1556 to 1558), spoken by Clytaemnestra:

Never exult in Hades, swordsman, here you are repaid. By the sword you did your work and by the sword you die.

Sound familiar? Maybe like this?

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
—Matthew 26:52, King James Version

Strikingly similar, I would say. I conclude there are three possibilities for this similarity.

1. It was an idea completely original both to Aeschylus and the Author of the Book of Matthew. Historians have determined that original ideas can occur in multiple times or places without either party knowing a thing about the other.

2. The Author of the Book of Matthew correctly quoted a real person called Jesus. This Jesus then, may have studied Ancient Greek Thought, possibly Aeschylus and the Orestia exactly.

3. The Author of the Book of Matthew attributed this quote to the character of Jesus, and the Author is the one who studied Ancient Greek Ideas, Aeschylus, and the Orestia.

Anyway you look at it though, the idea itself is older than Jesus/Author of Matthew.

Ancient Greeks: 1
Middle-Eastern desert dwelling 'prophets': 0