Chapter

Introduction

Ory Amitay

in From Alexander to Jesus

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520266360
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948174 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520266360.003.0001
Introduction

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The great importance of Alexander the Great's historical achievement for the development of Christianity has long been recognized. The notion of Alexander as a philosopher-king who strives for a Unity of Mankind has come under serious attack by scholarship since World War II. Yet the influence of Alexander on the world of myth and religion depended not solely on what he did, but also on what other people thought, told, and wrote about him. This book suggests a possible link connecting the life, career, and posthumous reputation of Alexander the Great with that of Jesus Christ. It treats Alexander both as a historical character and as a mythical one, but treats Jesus for his myth alone. It also examines the special relation between Alexander and his mythical ancestral hero Herakles and whether, and to what degree, the myth of Alexander could also influence the theology and mythology of the one who is to come. It concludes by arguing that Alexander was a flesh-and-blood character who broke the barrier between humanity and divinity, and is thus a unique forerunner of Christ.

Keywords: Christianity; Alexander the Great; Herakles; myth; religion; Jesus Christ; theology; mythology; humanity; divinity

Chapter.  3452 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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