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Dani Short

Miss Dietrich

Honors English 10

13 March, 2017

The Muses

Throughout history the manipulation of cultures to form new cultures is very present. The

Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark are strikingly similar. In addition to this, the lifeline of

Jesus and Odysseus are strikingly similar. The reader will focus mainly on evidence of this

statement regarding the irrelevance of the Muses, The Odyssey, and other works of art and

literature. To go even further, the Bible is a man made structure that is considered without

error, however, man tarnished the Bible and its actual message to the point where that statement

can be challenged. The authors of the Bible have taken Greek elements in ancient literature and

used it to formulate readings and scripture from the Bible. In the same way, The Odyssey was

inspired by the Bible. According to Simon Worall, A whole culture is responsible for the

Odyssey, not a single Homer (Worall). We know the exact years when stories of Christianity

were put on paper. What we can never prove is how far back stories of the Bible were transmitted

orally throughout the world. Homer was inspired by a culture and a belief system that had

existed for about three centuries before his time, not the Muses. Along with the odd similarities,

the direct differences between these religions/cultures are not coincidental.

The Muses are irrelevant when it comes to the development of the Odyssey.
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The Muses are the basis of Greek literature. and overall the reason we have a record of

Greek mythology stories today. Greek myth Greek culture, they are inspirational

goddesses of literature, science and arts of Greek mythology. They were the daughters of

Zeus and Mnemosyne and they were considered water nymphs (Muses).

The Muses were also considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric

songs, and myths. However, in reality, the Muses were an explanation for the unknown or an

explanation for what Homer wanted to remain unknown. Every culture has an excuse for what

cannot be explained and Greek culture happens to have the Muses, who are ultimately irrelevant

in The Odyssey.

The definition of basis is the system or principles according to which an activity or

process is carried on. It is also the justification for or reasoning behind something. The beginning

of Greek literature is marked by Homers Iliad and The Odyssey. According to Greek culture,

The Odyssey is inspired by the Muses. It opens up with Homer saying, Sing in me Muse, and

through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for

years on end, after he plundered the stronghold of the proud height of Troy(1.1-5). The Muses

are the reason, according to Greek culture, that the Odyssey even exists.

In a non-biased comparison, The Odyssey is much like the Bible. God inspired the

authors of the Bible to write what He wanted us to know. In the same way, according to Greek

culture, the Muses inspired Homer to write The Odyssey to relay what they wanted us to know.

This explains why Zeus is such a prominent figure in The Odyssey. The Muses are the nine
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daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and all nine girls are of one mind(Cartwright). In an oddly

similar way, the trinity are three persons but one God, thus one soul.

The direct contrast seen in the Bible vs. The Odyssey are not coincidences. In addition to

this, the Muses are given liquid offerings. The Muses were honored the same by mortals and

immortals. On earth, no social gathering was celebrated without libations being poured out to

them (Muses). When comparing a social gathering to a church setting, every church gathering,

we celebrate God by drinking wine as the blood of Christ. The only difference is that the

libations made to the Muses consist of water, milk, and honey, but never wine (Muses). This is

another example of the odd parallels between the Greek culture of the past and Christianity

today. In addition to this similarity, the direct difference concerning the wine is not a

coincidence.

The Muses were usually invoked at the beginning of various lyrical poems, such as the

Homeric epics; this happened so the Muses give inspiration or speak through the

poets (Cartwright). However, today, the word muse can be used to describe anyone who would

inspire an artist. Even in Greek mythology, there are many instances where other Greek creatures

are considered a muse. For example, the Sirens are known as the Muses of the lower

world(Homer). Is it possible that Homer was in fact calling upon the Bible for inspiration? Was

the word muse in the quote a unconnected metaphor to the Old Testament?

It is believed that Christianity is so different from Greek mythology because it is

monotheistic while Greek mythology is polytheistic. That is true, but they can still be proven to
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be relatively similar. It is similar, in specifying that Christianity used Greek mythology to

formulate its divine teachings. All realms in Christianity and Greek mythology are the same.

Heaven and Elysium are the realms for good people, Earth is the mortal realm, and Hades and

Hell are the realms for bad people. You may argue that Greek mythology entertains a multitude

of gods. Christianity entertains a multitude of angels and demons. Would it be fair to say that the

multitude of unnamed angels and demons in Christianity was taken from the idea of the

multitude of named gods in Greek mythology?

In another odd parallel to the Bible and the Odyssey, Jesus and Odysseus both had to

travel to the underworld in order to eventually complete their mission. The Apostles Creed

states, He descended into hell and on the third day, he rose again. The homecoming of both

Odysseus and Christ are too homologous to ignore. Both Christ and Odysseus return to their own

unrecognized. Also, when finally recognized by their own, they both do so by scars. Odysseus

and God have important sayings including the redundant phrase I AM. God says to Moses, I

AM who I AM( Exodus 3:14). Odysseus says to his son Telemachus, No other Odysseus than

I will ever come back to you. But here I am, and I am as you see me (Homer.16.203-5).

Homer could not have stolen elements of his epics from the New Testament. However,

Mark could have stolen elements of his gospel from The Odyssey. In addition to this, Mark also

borrowed information from the Iliad. In fact, For Jesus crucifixion and burial, Mark abandoned

the Odyssey, and borrowed instead from the Iliad (MacDonald, 17). The years in which all this

takes place brings about an argument. The Old Testament was written around 165 BC, however
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it is known that the oral traditions of Christianity had been traveling for years before

this(Schneidewind). Homer started to write his poetry, particularly The Odyssey, sometime

between the 12th and 8th centuries BC(Worrall). Even before these years, The Odyssey was

considered to be an oral tradition. This means that the Homeric Epics could have been traveling

by word of mouth even before this. Coming even later, the New Testament was written ranging

100 to 400 years AD(Schneidewind). While Homer was before Christ, the authors of the New

Testament were well after. They had plenty of time to not only hear of The Odyssey, but to gain a

physical record of it to aid in the writing of the Bible.

In conclusion, Homer can be considered a modern day muse. A modern day muse is

anyone who would inspire some type of artist, including writers. It was Homer who inspired the

author Mark. The Odyssey came before the New Testament which means that Mark had to be

inspired by The Odyssey and not the other way around. However, there are still elements if the

Old Testament that resemble The Odyssey, but the Old Testament came before The Odyssey.

Overall, most ancient writers have tried to say that they were inspired by some divine being. In

reality, they were inspired by works that came before them. The real question is, what is the

original work of literature to be credited with the inspiration of these authors, particularly Homer

and some authors of the Bible? There are studies that show that the author of Mark directly stole

from The Odyssey. The only objection to that is the Old Testament, which was written before The

Odyssey, has prophesied information that was used in the Gospel of Mark. The reader of this

essay can conclude for themselves if the authors of The Odyssey and the Bible unintentionally

helped each other with their works of literature or is the author of Mark the only bad guy?
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Annotated Bibliography

Mousai. Muses (Mousai) - Greek Goddesses of Music, Poetry and the Arts. N.p.,n.d. Web. 19

Feb. 2017.

This website examines the Muses with much more detail. It also introduces a new idea

that there are two sets of Muses.

The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1984. Print.

The Bible showed me how similar the Odyssey was to the Gospel of Mark. I was able to

pull certain citations from it and compare them to the Odyssey.

The Muses. The Muses. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

This website gave me a brief description of the Muses. The topics introduced will help

me further my research.

Felix, Richard. The Apostles' Creed. Pilot Grove, Mo: Our Faith Press, 1935. Print.

This prayer gave me a better insight into Christian belief. In addition to this, I was able to

better analyze parallels between The Bible and the Odyssey

Geyer, Douglas. . The Public's Library and Digital Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

This website inspired me to look at the book Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. It

also helped me better understand what to expect from the book.


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Holding, James. "The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark." Christian Research Institute.

N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

This website gave me information on MacDonald and his credibilities. Also, I got an inverse

opinion of what MacDonald was trying to say in his book.

MacDonald, Dennis R. The Homeric epics and the Gospel of Mark. New Haven: Yale U Press,

2000. Print.

This book helped me prove that the Odyssey and the New Testament of the Bible are

strikingly similar. It also gave me specific examples that I could analyze myself.

Price, Christine. Made in ancient Greece. London: Bodley Head, 1968. Print.

This book gave me a lot of background on the Muses and how they came to be. I also

gained information on Greek literature and art, which is the importance of the muses.

Schniedewind, William M. "Origins of the Written Bible." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, 18

Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

This website gave me the years that different parts of the Bible were written. This helped

me put into perspective how Mark could have stolen elements of his gospel from the Odyssey.
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Worrall , Simon. "Author Says a Whole Culture-Not a Single 'Homer'-Wrote 'Iliad,' 'Odyssey'"

National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

This website gave me the idea that maybe Homer is not entirely responsible for the

Odyssey. If this is true, then Mark cannot be credited with stealing from Homer.
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Outline

I. Introduction

A) Thesis: The Bible and the Odyssey are strikingly similar and Homer could have gotten

elements of The Odyssey from the prophecies in the Old Testament, not the Muses.

B) Main Ideas

1) In the same way, Mark paraphrased The Odyssey to assist in writing his Gospel.

2) The Old Testament and the Odyssey were around similar times.

3) The New Testament and the Gospel of Mark come well after The Odyssey.

4) The Muses did not inspire Homer because Homer was inspired by previously belief

systems that traveled orally.

II Body

A) Body Paragraph 1

1) The Muses are irrelevant when it comes to the development of The Odyssey.

2) The Muses are the basis of Greek literature and overall the reason we have a record of

Greek mythology today(Muses).

3) The Muses were an explanation for the unknown or for what Homer wanted to remain

unknown.

B) Body Paragraph 2

1) According to Greek culture, The Odyssey is inspired by the Muses.


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2) The Odyssey opens up with Homer saying, Sing in me Muse, and through me tell the

story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on

end, after he plundered the stronghold of the proud height of Troy(1.1-5).

3) The Muses are the basis of why The Odyssey even exists because they are the

justification behind it.

C) Body Paragraph 3

1) In a non-biased comparison, The Odyssey is much like the Bible.

2) The Muses are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and all nine girls are of

one mind(Cartwright).

3) This is similar to the Bible because in the same way, the trinity is three persons, but

one God.

D) Body Paragraph 4

1) The direct contrast seen in the Bible vs. The Odyssey are not coincidences.

2)The Muses were honored the same by mortals and immortals. On earth, no social

gathering was celebrated without libations being poured out to them. The only difference

was that the libations made to the Muses consist of water, milk, and honey, but never

wine (Muses).

3) When comparing a social gathering to a church setting, every church gathering, we

celebrate God by drinking wine as the blood of Christ. The Muses were not allowed to be

worshiped with wine. The direct contrast is not a coincidence.

E) Body Paragraph 5
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1) Today the word Muse can be used describe anyone or anything that inspires an artist.

2)The Muses were usually invoked at the beginning of various lyrical poems, such, as

the Homeric epics; this happened so the Muses give inspiration or speak though the

poets (Cartwright).

3) Homer could have been calling upon the Bible for inspiration in a misunderstood

metaphor with the word muse and the Old Testament.

F) Body Paragraph 6

1) It is believed that Christianity is so different from Greek mythology because

Christianity is monotheistic, while Greek mythology is polytheistic.

2) All realms in Christianity and Greek mythology are the same. Heaven and Elysium are

the realms for good people, Earth is the mortal realm, and Hades and Hell are the realms

for bad people.

3) Greek mythology entertains a multitude of gods, but Christianity entertains a multitude

of angels and demons. The multitude of unnamed angels and demons in Christianity

could have been taken from idea of the multitude of named gods in Greek mythology.

G) Body Paragraph 7

1) In another odd parallel to the Bible and the Odyssey, Jesus and Odysseus both had to

travel to the underworld in order to eventually complete their mission. Also, when

recognized by their own, they both do so by scars. Odysseus and God have similar

phrases using the word I Am


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2) The Apostles Creed states, He descended into hell and on the third day, he rose

again.

Odysseus say to his son Telemachus, No other Odysseus than I will ever come back to

you. But here I am, and I am as you see me (16.203-5).

3) The homecoming of both Odysseus and Christ are too homologous to ignore. Both

Christ and Odysseus return to their own unrecognized.

H) Body Paragraph 8

1) Homer could not have stolen his epics from the New Testament. However, Mark could

have stolen elements of his Gospel from The Odyssey. He also stole from the

Iliad.

2) For Jesus crucifixion and burial, Mark abandoned The Odyssey and borrowed instead

from The Iliad (MacDonald).

3) The years in which all this takes place brings about an argument. We know when all

these works of literature were put on paper, however we do not know how long they had

been traveling by word of mouth before that.

I) Conclusion

1) In conclusion, Homer can be considered a modern day muse. A modern day muse is

anyone who would inspire some type of artist, including writers. It was Homer who

inspired the author Mark.

2) Overall, most ancient writers have tried to say that they were inspired by some divine

being. In reality, they were inspired by works that came before them. The real question is,
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what is the original work of literature to be credited with the inspiration of these authors,

particularly Homer and some authors of the Bible?

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