Further Greek Borrowing From Book Of Tobit

Antoni Stanislaw Brodowski_ Oedipus and Antigone_ mlahanas_de OedipusAntigoneBrodowski

 

Taken from: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=12-02-036-f

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…. some readers have found in Tobit similarities to still other pagan themes, such as the legend of Admetus.18 More convincing, I believe, however, are points of contact with classical Greek theater. Martin Luther observed similarities between Tobit and Greek comedy,19 but one is even more impressed by resemblances that the Book of Tobit bears to a work of Greek tragedy—the Antigone of Sophocles. In both stories the moral stature of the heroes is chiefly exemplified in their bravely burying the dead in the face of official prohibition and at the risk of official punishment. In both cases a venerable moral tradition is maintained against a political tyranny destructive of piety. That same Greek drama, moreover, provides a further parallel to the blindness of Tobit in the character of blind Teiresias, himself also a man of an inner moral vision important to the theme of the play.

Bearing just as obvious a connection with non-biblical literature, I believe, is the demon Asmodeus (Tobit 3:8), who is doubtless to be identified, on purely morphological grounds, with Aeshma Daeva, a figure well known in ancient Iranian religion.20 Moreover, Tobit’s nephew Ahikar (1:22) is certainly identical with a literary character of the same name, time, place, and circumstances, found in the Elephantine papyri from the late fifth century B.C.21 In short, whatever may be the case relative to questions of historical dependency, Tobit’s cultural contacts with the ancient world of religion, philosophy, and literature are numerous and varied.

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