No, this is not the book this post is about, but it is an important one nevertheless and seems to go along with a newly published work:
Luz Neira was in charge of the co-ordination and publication of Civilización y barbarie: el mito como argumento en los mosaicos romanos (Civilization and Barbarism: Myths as plots in Roman Mosaics).
A number of specialists in Roman mosaics collaborated on the book, which offers a new perspective in the approach to mythology and its re-use throughout history, which was a result of “a conscious and self-interested phenomenon of re-semantization.”
Here’s the deal. Dennis MacDonald has suggested (pdf) that a theological crisis involving Homer plagued Mark’s tiny proto-Christian community. Yet, in several recent works, it has become apparent that by the time of the high Empire, the Greek and many of the Roman myths had been lost only to be recovered by the mythographer. Yes, we see Homer (or Aeneid) on mosaics; however, this is little more than patriotic artwork defined not by an acute sense of the meaning of the myth but by the borrowing of the myth to the point that it had become a shadow on the wall. No, Homer does not present the necessary theological crisis for Mark.
As a matter of fact, Homer doesn’t present a theological crisis to anyone – especially since Vergil.
In preparing my book, I’ve had to dig just a bit deeper than the oft-repeated theme that Homer supplied the culture of Latin Rome. This is readily false, as much like today, the New Testament that supposedly supplied the culture of the United States is not even known, although may be quoted or alluded from time to time. Anyway, one of the things that I’ve found is that Homer wasn’t much known, and had been replaced by a Latin poet. Not only that, he was attacked as being false and childish by a rhetorician much better known to the New Testament era than Homer, Dio Chrysostom:
But as for me, desiring neither to gain your favour nor to quarrel with Homer, much less to rob him of his fame, I shall try to show all the false statements I think he has made with regard to the events which happened here, and I shall use no other means of refuting him than his own poetry. In this I am simply defending the truth, and for Athena’s sake especially, that she may not be thought to have destroyed her own city unjustly or to have set her will against her father’s; but I speak no less in behalf of Hera and Aphrodite also. For it is passing strange that the consort of Zeus did not consider him a competent judge of her beauty unless it should be pleasing to one of the shepherds of Ida also, and that she had any contest at all with Aphrodite for the prize of beauty, she who asserted that she was the eldest of the children of Cronus, as Homer himself has expressed it in the verse,
Find the rest here.