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Preliminary Remarks: From Fixed Parallels To Intertextuality

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Chapter Summary

The overview of previous scholarship has made it clear that the long held scholarly consensus concerning the extra-biblical parallels to the Rich Man and Lazarus does not sufficiently explain the afterlife imagery it displays. There is a certain resemblance between the Demotic folktale, the rabbinic stories, and Luke’s story but the similarities are on a general level and do not account for the details of Luke’s description. The idea that any particular stories would explain the afterlife scene in Luke’s story does not correspond to the findings of recent orality studies. Instead of fixed parallels and direct dependency, we should speak of intertextual relations, common motifs and images that were used in the cultural milieu in the first century Mediterranean world. This chapter compares the features of the Lukan description of the hereafter with different Greco-Roman and Jewish accounts of the afterlife to shed new light on the example story.

Keywords: afterlife imagery; Demotic folktale; extra-biblical parallels; fixed parallels; Greco-Roman accounts; intertextual relations; Jewish accounts; Lazarus; Luke’s story; Rich Man



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