1. I would just like to reiterate again that my problem is not with people who argue against a parallel but rather the pejorative use of the term parallelomania. I will go further into this with a post in a couple of days.

    It is a tough issue and I think someone touched on this in one of the other posts that noting parallels is different from claiming literary dependence. Noting parallels is an interesting exercise but to claim dependence requires a lot more work. I use a list of criteria to measure a claim of dependence against in order to make sure a claim I am investigating isn’t excessive. Obviously, no matter the amount of criteria, data can be interpreted in many ways and I may claim dependence where others don’t. The reverse is also true.

    From my own perspective I think we are only starting to get a handle on how ancient texts were written and how they relate to one another. Virgil wrote at a rate of one line per day such was his meticulousness. Lucan is recognised as alluding to Virgil with the subtlety of one word. Yet in biblical studies people would still rather invoke hypothetical liturgical traditions than seriously entertain the notion that Mark’s Eucharist may be dependent on Paul’s. I’m not saying (for the purpose of this comment at least) that they are but that the question is valid and terms like parallelomania hinder open and honest research. There’s a subtlety to ancient literature that is lost on the modern reader because of out obsession with originality (and fear of getting sued for plagiarism). What we need to do is separate the wheat from the chaff. Where is a parallel deliberate and where is it coincidence. I think that rigid application of criteria can aid in this by helping to determine what is plausible and what makes sense. I wouldn’t advocate parallels for the sake of parallels.


Leave a Reply, Please!