Ancient Religious Texts and Intertextuality: Plato's and Plutarch's Myths of the Afterlife
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta [+]
University of Groningen
Like Mason, Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta (Chapter 6) takes a constructivist historical approach in his case to explain how the study of intertextuality can enhance our understanding of the continuous process of how texts are reread and rewritten in order to create new meanings, or to adapt old ones to their new, ever-changing contexts. The study of intertextuality is described as an approach that ponders the way texts live in other texts in order to determine if and how texts reflect, reshape, or transform one another. The author points out how, in recent decades, influenced by the work of Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes and Gérard Genette, the notion of intertext as a “new tissue of past citations,” or “dense web of allusion” has been applied beyond the literary world and extended to photography, movie, music, painting and even architecture. After providing an overview of intertextuality and its wide applicability when conceived in this comprehensive and encompassing way, Roig Lanzillotta exemplifies an intertextual approach to the study of the myths of the Afterlife as developed by Plato and Plutarch of Chaeronea. After comparing Plato’s myth of Er and Plutarch’s myths in On the Sign of Socrates, On the Delays of Divine Vengeance and Concerning the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon, he applies Genette’s approach to intertextuality in order to both assess Plutarch’s textual transformations and show how they generate new meanings more suited to the expectations of authors and readers of the first centuries CE.