While both Greeks and Jews formulated their national identities around their favored stories, they did so in very different ways. The Jewish Tanakh commands and exemplifies a text-centered community in which that which is written is most important. The Greek Homeric poems portray a world characterized by oral performance in the Iliad’s tearful conversation between Priam and Achilles and the Odyssey’s bards. Writing is suspect; orality is privileged. Greece had no great collection of commentary upon commentary around Homer to compare to the Mishnah and midrash, but neither does ancient Judaism have an Aeschylus or Euripides. (p. 206)
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