Job (Tobias) Influenced Homer’s “The Odyssey”


For complete article, see:

The Lost Cultural Foundations of Western Civilisation




In the beginning, the Semites and the Greeks were very close. Both peoples had descended from Noah; the Semites from Noah’s son, Shem, and the Greeks from Noah’s son, Japheth, about whom D. Neiman states categorically [“The Two Genealogies of Japheth”, Orient and Occident (Butzon and Bercker, 1973, p. 119]: “Japheth of the Old Testament is, in origin, Iapetos of the Greek mythology. Iapetos is the Titan, the father of Prometheus, who is the forerunner, the creator, the progenitor of man” And [ibid., p. 120]:

In the genealogy of the descendants of Japheth too the author of the Table [Genesis 10] seems to display a greater knowledge of one area against another. While he mentions nations by name as children of Japhet who inhabit areas of Central Asia, his primary interest is focused on the region of the Aegean Sea and its surrounding coast lands and islands, and the nations that interest him most are the Hellenes and those that fall within the geographical-cultural area of Greece.

Moreover Japheth – unlike Noah’s other son, Ham – did not come under Noah’s curse, but received a blessing that knit him to Shem (Genesis 9:27): ‘May God make space for Japheth, and let him live in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave’.

The Iliad and The Odyssey

Similarly as the Koran is the Arabic version of the Bible, so are Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey combined, in part, a Greek version of the Bible (including the Pseudepigrapha), but with multiple biblical composites. So in that sense, I guess, could The Iliad be called “the cornerstone of Western culture”.

I have already written an article, “Beware of Greeks Bringing Myths” ((, brimful of parallels between a combination of the Israelite books of Job and Tobit, on the one hand, and The Odyssey on the other. This article presupposes an earlier one of mine, “Job’s Life and Times” [], in which I had identified Job with Tobit’s son, Tobias. Basically, I arrived at these parallels:

The two chief male characters. Tobit and his son, Tobias/Job, equate approximately to Odysseus and his son, Telemachus.

(Unlike the pious Tobit, though, Odysseus was a crafty and battle-hardened pagan, with a love of strong drink and an eye for women {goddesses}. But he nevertheless pined for his true wife, Penelope).

The Suitors. These unpleasant and self-serving characters are especially prominent and numerous in The Odyssey. In the Book of Tobit, “seven” suitors in turn meet an unhappy fate in their desire for Sarah.

The Sought-After Woman. In The Odyssey, she is Penelope. She is Sarah in the Book of Tobit.

The ‘Divine’ Messenger. From whom the son, especially, receives help during his travels.

In the Book of Tobit, this messenger is the angel Raphael (in the guise of ‘Azarias’). In The Odyssey, it is the goddess Athene (in the guise of ‘Mentes’).

Satan, or Adversary (Book of Job). He is Poseidon in The Odyssey, the god who hounds down the story’s hero. He is Asmodeus in the Book of Tobit.

The Friends. Whereas, in the Book of Tobit, the young man’s journeying takes him amongst kindred folks (e.g. Raguel and Gabael), in The Odyssey, it is to the homelands of certain Greek returnées from Troy (e.g. Nestor and Menelaus) that young Telemachus travels.

The Dog. Yes, even a dog, or dogs, figure in both stories.

I need to point out that it sometimes happens that incidents attributed to the son, in the Book of Tobit, might, in The Odyssey, be attributed to the son’s father, or vice versa (or even be attributed to some less important character). The same sort of mix occurs with the female characters.

There is space here for only a few of the many, many parallels I have arrived at:

Only Son

Tobias was the only son of Tobit and Anna (cf. Tobit 1:9 and 8:17).

So was Telemachus the only son of Odysseus and Penelope: ‘[Telemachus] … you an only son, the apple of your mother’s eye…’ (II, 47).

Anna referred to her son as ‘the light of my eyes’ (Tobit 10:5).

Telemachus’ uncle used that identical phrase: ‘Telemachus, light of my eyes!’ (XVI, 245).

Longing for Death

Tobit, in his utter misery of blindness, longed for death, and thus he prayed to God: ‘Command that I now be released from my distress to go to the eternal abode; do not turn Thy face away from me’ (Tobit 3:6).

This theme is treated even more starkly, and in more prolonged fashion, in the Book of Job (esp. Ch. 3).

In The Odyssey, it is said of Laërtes that “every day he prays to Zeus that death may visit his house and release the spirit from his flesh” (XV,239).

And Odysseus, after having learned from Circe about the wretched existence of the dead in Hades, said: ‘This news broke my heart. I sat down on the bed and wept. I had no further use for life, no wish to see the sunshine any more’ (X, 168).

The Suitors

“On the same day” that Tobit had prayed to be released from this life, Sarah – back home in Midian [4100]: “was reproached by her father’s maids, because she had been given to seven husbands, and the evil demon Asmodeus had slain each of them before he had been with her as his wife” (Tobit 3:7,8).

In the Vulgate version of Tobit, we are informed that these seven suitors had lustful intentions towards Sarah (6:17).

The Odyssey also tells about Penelope, who is tormented by the suitors who have invaded Odysseus’ home and are squandering the family’s wealth. Penelope has to resort to the ruse of weaving a winding-cloth – ostensibly intending to make the decision to marry once she has completed it. But each night she undoes the cloth, in order to keep the suitors at bay (I, 28-33; II, 38-39).

The prediction early in the story, that “there’d be a quick death and a sorry wedding for … all [the Suitors]”, once Odysseus returned home (I, 32), was to be fulfilled to the letter when he dealt them all a bloody end.

Indeed, these words, a “sorry wedding” and a “quick death”, might well have been spoken of Sarah’s suitors as well, once the demon Asmodeus had finished with them. This Asmodeus is eventually overcome by Tobias, with great assistance from the angel. Asmodeus then “fled to the remotest parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him” (cf. Tobit 7:16 and 7:8:3). Even this episode might have its ‘echo’ at the beginning of The Odyssey, when the violent god, Poseidon (legendary father of the Athenian hero Theseus – born of two fathers: Poseidon and Aegeus, king of Athens), is found amongst “the distant Ethiopians, the farthest outposts of mankind …” (I, 25). Ethiopia could indeed be described as “the remotest parts of Egypt”. [In “Job’s Life and Times” I provide a detailed analysis of the geography of the books of Tobit and Job, re-identifying Media in the Book of Tobit with Midian].

Heavenly Visitor

… she [Athene] bound under her feet her lovely sandals of untarnished gold, which carried her with the speed of the wind…. Thus she flashed down from the heights of Olympus. On reaching Ithaca she took her stand on the threshold of the court in front of Odysseus’ house; and to look like a visitor she assumed the appearance of a Taphian chieftain named Mentes… (I, 27-28).

The reader will quickly pick up the similarities between this text and the relevant part of the Book of Tobit if I simply quote directly from the latter:

The prayer of [Tobit and Sarah] was heard in the presence of the glory of the great God. And Raphael was sent (3:16,17).

Then Tobias … found a beautiful young man, standing girded, as it were ready to walk. And not knowing that he was an angel of God, he saluted him…. ‘I am Azarias, the son of the great Ananias’ (5:5,6,18).

The Questioning

Tobit had interrogated the angel about the latter’s identity, asking: ‘My brother, to what tribe and family do you belong? Tell me …’, etc., etc. (5:9-12). Raguel exhibited a similar sort of curiosity: ‘Where are you from brethren? …. Do you know our brother Tobit? …. Is he in good health?’ (7:3,4).

In The Odyssey, too, this pattern (but with a Greek slant – e.g. the mention of ships) is again most frequent – almost monotonous. Telemachus, for instance, asks Athene:

‘However, do tell me who you are and where you come from. What is your native town? Who are your people? And since you certainly cannot have come on foot, what kind of vessel brought you here?’ (I, 29).

(For further examples of this pattern of interrogation in The Odyssey, see pp. 72; 118; 164; 175; 208; 220).

Athene replied to Telemachus, using a phrase that I suggest may have come straight out of the Book of Tobit – where towards the end of the story Raphael says: ‘I will not conceal anything from you’ (12:11). Thus:

‘I will tell you everything’, answered the bright-eyed goddess Athene. ‘My father was the wise prince, Anchialus. My own name is Mentes, and I am a chieftain of the sea-faring Taphians’.

Delaying One’s Guests

Another noticeable tendency in these Israelite writings, and in The Odyssey, is for hosts to insist on their guests staying longer than the latter had intended, or had wished. This was perhaps the customary hospitality in ancient Syro-Mesopotamia, because it is common also in Genesis (24:25-26; 29:21-31:41). And it happens in The Book of Tobit and all the way through The Odyssey as well. For example, Telemachus says to Athene (I, 29):

‘Sir, …. I know you are anxious to be on your way, but I beg you to stay a little longer, so that you can bathe and refresh yourself. Then you can go, taking with you as a keepsake from myself something precious and beautiful, the sort of present that one gives to a guest who has become a friend’.

‘No’, said the bright-eyed goddess. ‘I am eager to be on my way; please do not detain me now. As for the gift you kindly suggest, let me take it home with me on my way back. Make it the best you can find, and you won’t lose by the exchange’.

(Cf. IV, 80; XV, 231-232).

In like manner, Tobias was impatient to leave the sanguine Raguel and return home:

At that time Tobias said to Raguel. ‘Send me back, for my father and mother have given up hope of ever seeing me again’.

But his father-in-law said to him, ‘Stay with me, and I will send messengers to your father, and they will inform him how things are with you’.

‘No, send me back to my father’. So Raguel arose and gave him his wife Sarah and half of his property in slaves, cattle, and money. (10:7,8-10).

The Dog(s)

(a) The Leaving

“… Telemachus himself set out for the meeting-place, bronze spear in hand, escorted … by two dogs that trotted beside him” (II, 37).

Also “[Tobias and the angel] both went out and departed, and the young man’s dog was with them” (Tobit 5:16).

(b) The Returning

When Telemachus returned home: “The dogs, usually so obstreperous, not only did not bark at the newcomer but greeted him with wagging tails” (XVI, 245).

The dog in the Book of Tobit was equally excited: “Then the dog, which had been with [Tobias and the angel] along the way, ran ahead of them; and coming as if he had brought the news showed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail” (Tobit 11:9).


Many similarities have been noted too between The Iliad and the Old Testament, including the earlier-mentioned likenesses between the young Bellerophon and Joseph. Again, Achilles’ being pursued by the river Xanthos which eventually turns dry (Book 21) reminds one of Moses’ drying up of the sea (Exodus 14:21).

Was there really a person by the name of Agamemnon? [See Is Homer Historical? in Archaeology Odyssey, May/Jun 2004, pp. 26-35]. The interview of Professor Nagy of Harvard says `no, there wasn’t.’

Achilles’ fierce argument with Agamemnon, commander-in-chief of the Greeks, at Troy – Achilles’ anger being the very theme of The Iliad [Introduction, p. xvi: “The Iliad announces its subject in the first line. The poem will tell of the anger of Achilleus and its consequences – consequences for the Achaians, the Trojans, and Achilleus himself”] – is merely a highly dramatized Greek version of the disagreement in the Book of Judith between Achior (from whose name I suggest the Greeks got their Achilles) and the furious Assyrian commander-in-chief, “Holofernes”, at the siege of Bethulia, Judith’s town.

Now, speaking of Judith, the Greeks appear to have substituted this beautiful Jewish heroine with their own legendary Helen, whose ‘face launched a thousand ships’. Compare for instance these striking similarities (Judith and The Iliad):

The beautiful woman praised by the elders at the city gates:

“When [the elders of Bethulia] saw [Judith] transformed in appearance and dressed differently, they were very greatly astounded at her beauty” (Judith 10:7).

“Now the elders of the people were sitting by the Skaian gates…. When they saw Helen coming … they spoke softly to each other with winged words: ‘No shame that the Trojans and the well-greaved Achaians should suffer agonies for long years over a woman like this – she is fearfully like the immortal goddesses to look at'” [The Iliad., pp. 44-45].

This theme of incredible beauty – plus the related view that “no shame” should be attached to the enemy on account of it – is picked up again a few verses later in the Book of Judith (v.19) when the Assyrian soldiers who accompany Judith and her maid to Holofernes “marveled at [Judith’s] beauty and admired the Israelites, judging them by her … ‘Who can despise these people, who have women like this among them?'”


‘It is not wise to leave one of their men alive, for if we let them go they will be able to beguile the whole world!’ (Judith 10:19).

‘But even so, for all her beauty, let her go back in the ships, and not be left here a curse to us and our children’ [4450].

Suggested Equation: Helen, ‘the Hellene’, wife of Menelaus = Judith, ‘the Jewess’, wife of Manasseh (or Immanuel). [ibid., p. 45]

If the very main theme of The Iliad may have been lifted by the Greeks from the Book of Judith, then might not even the Homeric idea of the Trojan Horse ruse to capture Troy have been inspired by Judith’s own ruse to take the Assyrian camp? [According to R. Graves, The Greek Myths (Penguin Books, combined ed., 1992), p. 697 (1, 2): “Classical commentators on Homer were dissatisfied with the story of the wooden horse. They suggested, variously, that the Greeks used a horse-like engine for breaking down the walls (Pausanias: i. 23. 10) … that Antenor admitted the Greeks into Troy by a postern which had a horse painted on it…. Troy is quite likely to have been stormed by means of a wheeled wooden tower, faced with wet horse hides as a protection against incendiary darts…”. Emphasis added. (Pausanius 2nd century AD: Wrote `Description of Greece’. )].

What may greatly serve to strengthen this suggestion is the uncannily ‘Judith-like’ trickery of a certain Sinon, a wily Greek, as narrated in the detailed description of the Trojan Horse in Book Two of Virgil’s Aeneid. Sinon, whilst claiming to have become estranged from his own people, because of their treachery and sins, was in fact bent upon deceiving the Trojans about the purpose of the wooden horse, in order “to open Troy to the Greeks”.

I shall set out here the main parallels that I find on this score between the Aeneid and the Book of Judith.

Firstly, the name Sinon may recall Judith’s ancestor Simeon, son of Israel (Judith 8:1; 9:2).

Whilst Sinon, when apprehended by the enemy, is “dishevelled” and “defenceless”, Judith, also defenseless, is greatly admired for her appearance by the members of the Assyrian patrol who apprehend her (Judith 10:14). As Sinon is asked sympathetically by the Trojans ‘what he had come to tell …’ and ‘why he had allowed himself to be taken prisoner’, so does the Assyrian commander-in-chief, Holofernes, ‘kindly’ ask Judith: ‘… tell me why you have fled from [the Israelites] and have come over to us?’

Just as Sinon, when brought before the Trojan king Priam, promises that he ‘will confess the whole truth’ – though having no intention of doing that – so does Judith lie to Holofernes: ‘I will say nothing false to my lord this night’ (Judith 11:5).

Sinon then gives his own treacherous acccount of events, including the supposed sacrileges of the Greeks due to their tearing of the Palladium, image of the goddess Athene, from her own sacred Temple in Troy; slaying the guards on the heights of the citadel and then daring to touch the sacred bands on the head of the virgin goddess with blood on their hands. For these ‘sacrileges’ the Greeks were doomed.

Likewise Judith assures Holofernes of victory because of the supposed sacrilegious conduct that the Israelites have planned (e.g. to eat forbidden and consecrated food), even in Jerusalem (11:11-15).

Sinon concludes – in relation to the Trojan options regarding what to do with the enigmatic wooden horse – with an Achior-like statement: ‘For if your hands violate this offering to Minerva, then total destruction shall fall upon the empire of Priam and the Trojans…. But if your hands raise it up into your city, Asia shall come unbidden in a mighty war to the walls of Pelops, and that is the fate in store for our descendants’. Whilst Sinon’s words were full of cunning, Achior had been sincere when he had warned Holofernes – in words to which Judith will later allude deceitfully (11:9-10): ‘So now, my master and my lord, if there is any oversight in this people [the Israelites] and they sin against their God and we find out their offense, then we can go up against them and defeat them. But if they are not a guilty nation, then let my lord pass them by; for their Lord and God will defend them, and we shall become the laughing-stock of the whole world’ (Judith 5:20-21). [Similarly, Achilles fears to become ‘a laughing-stock and a burden of the earth’ (Plato’s Apologia, Scene I, D. 5)]. These, Achior’s words, were the very ones that had so enraged Holofernes and his soldiers (vv.22-24). And they would give the Greeks the theme for their greatest epic, The Iliad.


The Greeks have again, in the Lindian Chronicle, taken up the dramatic core of the Book of Judith: namely,

(i) the siege of a city; with (ii) 5 days grace before surrendering; (iii) the intervention of the single heroic female; (iv) her prayer to the Almighty for success;
(v) the subsequent heaven-inspired victory with the forced lifting of the siege (cf. Judith 8:9; 9:2-14 and 15).

In the typically Greek version though the invader is, not Assyrian, but Persian – using, not a land-based invasion, but a naval one – and the deliverance of the besieged city is effected, not by a mortal woman (Judith), but by a goddess (Athene), who prays to Zeus (instead of Judith’s praying to the God of Israel). [See A.B. Cook, Zeus – A History of the Greek Religion.]

It is interesting to note, too, in regard to these comparisons that Athene’s aegis was a decapitated head (Gorgon’s head). Was this simply a Greek version of Judith triumphant with the head of Holofernes? (cf. Judith 13:8).

From what we have just read about the goddess Athene – and recalling too that she, in The Odyssey, substitutes for the angel Raphael (Book of Tobit) – we can appreciate that she can be another example of a biblical composite. Moreover, R. Johnson has argued that Athene has come to represent the biblical Eve in Greek mythology [“Athena and Eve”, Tech. J., Vol. 17(3), 2003, 85-92.]

See vigorous debate on this between Johnson and John R. Salverda:

“Athena is the ultimate representation of Naamah as the one

who brought the serpent’s “wisdom” through the Flood”

Homer and Hesiod

Homer and Hesiod are considered to have belonged to the C8th BC, with Homer being Hesiod’s older contemporary. Whilst I believe this chronology to be perfectly in order, I intend to show once again that these most celebrated ‘Greeks’ have their origins in Israel.

I am encouraged to look for Homer’s roots in Israel based on my findings above that some central characters and events of The Iliad and The Odyssey have been drawn from C8th BC Israelite personalities and incidents.

So, on whose name do I suggest that the name ‘Homer’ was based?

A similar name is Omri, the C9th BC Israelite king who founded a dynasty which the Assyrians still identified generations later as Bit Humri, the “House of Omri” [Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III now in British Museum. See also Werner Gugler, `Jehu und seine Revolution: Voraussetzungen, Verlauf, Folgen’, Pharos Publ., 1996]; the name Humri being close to Homer. But king Omri, apart from his probably being a bit too early for Homer, was by no means a Homer type, being a general and statesman and unlikely a sage, storyteller and writer of epics.

I suggest rather that Homer was the Greek version of the prophet Amos, who lived during the sort of truly catastrophic times that would serve admirably as a backdrop for The Iliad and The Odyssey. Thus Amos began to prophesy “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1), which cataclysm was still remembered centuries later by the prophet Zechariah (14:5). Hence Homer’s frequent references to “Poseidon the earthshaker” [See The Iliad, Index entry “Earthshaker”]. It was also the time of the decline of the Israelite kingdom of Jeroboam II (Amos 7:9-11). In revised history, the tragic collapse of this kingdom may be referred to in pharaoh Merenptah’s stele:

“Israel is laid waste – its seed is no more”.

Israel suffered exile at the hands of Egypt (Hosea, cf. 3:4; 7:16; 9:3; 10:3), c. mid-740’s BC, and then, in the following decades, had to withstand the shock of successive Assyrian invasions, culminating in the fall of the capital, Samaria, in 722 BC. This is all pure Homeric stuff: wars, sieges, disasters, cataclysms, intrigue, and the fall of cities and kingdoms.

But how to equate the name Amos with the name Homer?

It can be done. But the explanation of it will involve a few fairly intricate paragraphs during which the reader will need to exercise some patience (and this is all only tentative):

Firstly, Amos needs to be filled out with who I believe to be his alter ego in the prophet Micah, who is so like Amos that he has been called “Amos redivivus” [King, P., “Micah”, The Jerome Biblical Commentary, New Jersey (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), 17:2]. Now, Micah was still active during the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah (Jeremiah 26:18), of the late C8th BC, so the prophet would also have been a witness to the beginnings of the major Assyrian incursions into the southern kingdom of Judah, placing Jerusalem under extreme threat.

Amos was the father of the similarly great Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).

Now Amos (Micah), father of Isaiah, who moved from Judah to the northern kingdom, perhaps to Bethel (Amos 7:10), can be identified with Micah the father of Uzziah (var. Ozias), chief magistrate of Judith’s town of Bethulia (northern Bethel?) (Judith 6:14-15). Thus Isaiah and Uzziah of Judith are also to be connected.

But Isaiah/Uzziah (var. Ozias) was also the contemporary of the northern prophet, Hosea (var. Osee), whose name is extremely similar to Isaiah’s/Uzziah’s (Ozias’), as are also his prophetic writings like those of Isaiah, Amos and Micah. I suggest therefore that Isaiah and Hosea are also one and the same prophet. I have argued this at some length in my university thesis, A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background (AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf). And, whilst the name of Hosea’s father, Beeri (Hosea 1:1), does not immediately look like the name of Isaiah’s father, Amos, I believe that it can be connected through the following chain of names: Amos-Amaziah-Amariah-Merari-Beeri [The name Amaziah converts to Amariah, I suggest, in the same way that king Uzziah of Judah’s name was convertible to Azariah (2 Kings 14:21).].

The names Amariah/Merari will be a crucial link in this chain leading to Homer.

We are now in a position to take the name Amos, now Amariah, a step further still, evolving it into Beeri, the name of Hosea’s father. Given the Syro-Palestinian propensity to interchange the letters `b’ and `m’, then Amariah can become Beeri (through Meeri/Merari). This last link, Amariah-Beeri, is greatly strengthened by the fact that, according to Jewish tradition [Moore, C., The Anchor Bible. Judith (Doubleday and Co., NY), p. 107], Judith’s father was called Beeri; whereas in the Book of Judith he is called Merari (8:1); Merari being a name that interchanges more easily with Amariah than does Beeri.

It is not so hard then to take the final step and conclude that the Greek name, Homer, may have evolved from Amos/Amariah/Merari, especially the last two names.

So we find that all of the names discussed above actually add up to only the two prophets (Amos, aka. Micah, Beeri, Merari), the father; and
(Isaiah, aka. Hosea, Uzziah, Ozias), the son.

Now this two-way father-son relationship is, I believe, the key to the connection between Homer (aka. Amos) and his younger contemporary, Hesiod, whose name as we can now see resembles Isaiah’s, especially in its variant of Hosea (= Hesiod). The great similarities, in places, between the writings of Homer and Hesiod, even admitting line by line comparisons [See e.g. “Of the Origin of Homer and Hesiod and their Contest”. World Wide School Library (], are comparable to the sometimes identical statements of Isaiah and his father (cf. Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:2-5). Isaiah and Micah were in fact a prophetic combination, carrying out the same pantomimic actions, e.g. their going ‘barefoot and naked’ (cf. Micah 1:8 and Isaiah 20:1-2).

Having arrived at these conclusions, I can now discuss Hesiod in his proper context.

To Hesiod (now an appropriation of the prophet Hosea) are attributed two great poems:

“Theogony” and “Works and Days”. The “Theogony”, thought in turn to have been derived from “Near Eastern lore” [Weisstein, E., “Hesiod (ca. 700 BC)” ( branchofscience.html).], has some very Genesis-like aspects to it. It describes the creation of the Universe; and, as with Genesis 1:1,2, according to which “In the beginning … the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep”, so does Hesiod begin with Chaos – by which he meant “the dark which dominated everywhere (or water)” [Papageorgiou-Haska, R., “Theogony. Hesiod” (] – and the Earth. The notion of the Spirit of God, gathering together the waters (Genesis 1:2, 9) is probably picked up by Hesiod with his character of Eros (Love), the unifying power. And, just as lights in the dome of the sky are employed in Genesis to separate Day from Night (v, 14), so does Hesiod tell of the emergence of Erebus and Night and Aether and Day.

Moving on to Genesis 5-9, Japheth (whom we encountered earlier), a father of the Greeks, is Hesiod’s Titan, Iapetus; whilst his father Noah might perhaps be intended in Oceanus, the name of another Titan. The “Theogony” was the Bible for the Greeks, gathered from material that greatly pre-dated Hesiod [“Hesiod (fl. 8th Cent. B.C.)”.


“Theogony” was a very important work for the ancient Hellenes because it served them as the touchstone which would enable them to check which of the various beliefs about gods were reliable. It constituted the Religious Canon for Hellenes and it was exactly what Moses’ Bible was for Jews. …However, while Hesiod is thought to have written in the 8th century B.C., material that he had gathered together for his work had originated millennia earlier so that the cosmogony preserved in his writing is more or less a summation of far more ancient observations.

“Hesiod was the Greek [sic] poet who occupies a unique place in Greek literature both for his moral precepts and for his highly personal tone” [ibid.]. Unfortunately, according to what has by now become an all too familiar tune, “little is definitely known of his life. Modern scholars place him in the same period of Greek literature as Homer”.

To my mind, Hesiod equates fairly well with Isaiah/Hosea as to:

the C8th BC dating (but also preceded by many generations of inherited sacred writings);
a name similarity;

an occupational similarity (presuming Isaiah/Hosea followed his father, who was “a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees”, Amos 7:14), since Hesiod “tended sheep and led the life of a farmer” [ibid.];

the moral and personal tone of his writings.

Hesiod’s ‘straightforward style’ in his “Works and Days”, with its ‘simple moralising’ and condemnation of the injustices of the day, is often likened anyway to the writings of the prophet Amos. The output of the so-called ‘Hesiodic school’ should probably be re-identified as the combined and extensive writings of Amos and, especially, Isaiah, in their various scriptural guises.



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