Genesis 2–3 and Alcibiades’s speech in Plato’s Symposium: A cultural critical reading
The purpose of this article is to discuss some basic problems and methodological steps concerning the encounter between Hebrews and Greeks in the Classical period and its impact on the Hellenistic era. The relationship between the Old Testament and Ancient Greek literature will be examined on the basis of Genesis 2–3 and Alcibiades’s speech in Plato’s Symposium (212c–223d). The following considerations and models of interpretation can arise from the analysis of Alcibiades’s speech compared to M- and LXX-Genesis 2–3: (1) Ancient Greek writers were familiar with Old Testament oral or written traditions through improvised translations. They prepared the way for the LXX and, in their compositions, were in dispute with them although they do not make specific references to the Hebrews and their literature; (2) Hebrew authors knew the works of Ancient Greek authors and used Greek philosophical terminology which they creatively adapted to Semitic models; (3) Both models are possible. One should not rush to any decisions but examine each case individually, in the original language.