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Fiction As History: Nero To Julian
by G. W. Bowersock
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Thomas R. Martin, History Book Club Review
"The fascination and importance of this book arises above all from its own purpose, but its dazzling insights have special value as well to the world in which controversy rages over rewritings of history. . . . Fiction as history is a timely and, as this wonderful book makes clear, timeless topic."
New Testament Abstracts
"[Bowersock] uses pagan prose fiction produced in Greek and Latin during the early Christian era to investigate the complex relations between 'historical' and 'fictional' truths. . . and concludes that even in late antiquity the great novelists appealed to Christians as much as to pagans."
Using pagan fiction produced in Greek and Latin during the early Christian era, G. W. Bowersock investigates the complex relationship between "historical" and "fictional" truths. This relationship preoccupied writers of the second century, a time when apparent fictions about both past and present were proliferating at an astonishing rate and history was being invented all over again. With force and eloquence, Bowersock illuminates social attitudes of this period and persuasively argues that its fiction was influenced by the emerging Christian Gospel narratives.
Enthralling in its breadth and enhanced by two erudite appendices, this is a book that will be warmly welcomed by historians and interpreters of literature.
About the Author
G. W. Bowersock is Professor of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Among his many books are Roman Arabia (1983) and Hellenism in Late Antiquity (1990). He is coeditor of A. D. Momigliano: Studies on Modern Scholarship (California 1994).
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