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Bruce's Satyricon Quote +

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  • Tom Simms
    Sent to Crosstalk 27 Jan 98 13:02:12 +0100 by Jan Sammer
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 1998
      Sent to Crosstalk 27 Jan 98 13:02:12 +0100
      by Jan Sammer<interpre@...

      excerpt:

      significance for the dating of the gospels. We can date the Satyricon of
      Petronius before 66 A.D., the date of the author's death. There are two
      probable references in the Satyricon to Christianity, the story of the
      Widow of Ephesus, which could be a parody of Matthew 27:62-28:15 and the
      Testament, which may be a satire on John 6:48-52.

      The story of the Widow of Ephesus, another version of which is given by
      Phaedrus, tells the story of some crucified robbers guarded by a Roman
      soldier, while in a nearby tomb a young widow is bemoaning her dead
      husband in the company of her maidservant. The soldier sees light in the
      tomb, comes in and falls in love with the widow. For three days the
      soldier makes love to the widow inside the tomb, after closing up the
      entrance--but meanwhile the relatives of one of the crucified robbers
      steal his body. When the soldier finds that the body is missing he is
      about to commit suicide for fear of punishment--but the widow comes up
      with a plan: put the body of her dead husband on the empty cross. There
      are elements--such as the three days spent in a closed tomb, the light
      shining from the tomb, the disappearance of the body from it, the
      soldier guarding nearby--that suggest the Petronius knew the story of
      the guard at the tomb, whether from Matthew's gospel or from some other
      source. It also suggests that Petronius' readership in the early sixties
      A.D. would be aware of this Christian story and would be amused by his
      parody of it.

      The Testament is even more suggestive. A man leaves the following
      testament: "All who have legacies under my will, apart from my freedmen,
      get them on this condition; that they cut my body to pieces and eat it
      in public." One of the heirs says: "I am not perturbed by your belly's
      revolting. It will obey your order if for one hour of nausea you promise
      it a recompense of countless good things..." This could be a satire
      specifically on John 6:48-52 or on the Eucharist generally.


      [ It demands an early composition or else the Gospellers knew and
      stole from Petronius. - my comment]

      Tom Simms
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