Blogging my Book: Day 3 – Avoiding Parallelomania

I encountered the term parallelomania, as I recall, in a French book of about 1830, whose title and author I have forgotten, in a context in which there were being examined certain passages in the Pauline epistles and in the Book of Wisdom that seem to have some resemblance, and a consequent view that when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans , a copy of the Book of Wisdom lay open before him, and that Paul in Romans copied generously from it. Three items are to be noted. One, that some passages are allegedly parallel; two, that a direct organic literary connection is assumed to have provided the parallels; and three, that the conclusion is drawn that the flow is in a particular direction, namely, from Wisdom to Paul, and not from Paul to Wisdom. Our French author disputes all three points: he denies that the passages cited are true parallels; he denies that a direct literary connection exists; he denies that Paul copied directly from Wisdom, and he calls the citations and the inferences parallelomania. We might for our purposes define parallelomania as that extravagance among scholars which first overdoes the supposed similarity in passages and then proceeds to describe source and derivation as if implying literary connection flowing in an inevitable or predetermined direction.

via Parallelomania in Biblical Studies – Ancient Hebrew Poetry.

That is from a speech given by Dr. Samuel Sandmel.

One of the things in my book which I will work to try to avoid is making connections which aren’t there. I believe that Dr. Winn has established a┬ámagnificent┬áset of core criteria, which I will be adding to just one degree.

For example… Twelve Caesars and Twelve Apostles… based only on the number.

For connections to be made – there has to be more to it…

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