Christianising Alexander Traditions in Late Antiquity

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This chapter explores Alexander’s legacy in early Christian literature, arguing that the Christians appropriated his figure by means of subtle alterations to existing tales or by means of comparisons of his deeds with Christian content. It focuses on the common ground between Christians and non-Christians, and looks at: first, the classicising ‘pagans’ (Celsus, Porphyry, Julian); secondly, the Greek-writing Jewish authors (Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus); and, thirdly, authors of the Christian comparative material. In each case, I show how Christian authors use either established or innovative strategies in deploying Alexander as a rhetorical device to enhance the effect of their argument. I offer several close readings of important, if neglected, passages to highlight how different the Christians’ presentations of Alexander actually are from the material that they are adapting. The chapter suggests that the ‘Christianisation’ of Alexander lies primarily in the Christians’ interpretation of his legacy and in their use of comparative material rather than in their development of a wholly new image for Alexander himself.
TitelA History of Alexander the Great in World Culture
RedaktørerRichard Stoneman
ForlagCambridge: Cambridge University Press
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2020

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