Religious Narratives and Religious Themes in the Novels of Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus

  • Margaret Edsall


References to religious narratives in the Greek novel elucidate the relationship between the novel and religion. Analyses show that Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus treat religious themes differently. Heliodorus offers a nostalgic view of religion, connected with his edifying reinterpretation of the love story, and Achilles Tatius offers an ironical view, connected with his "pastiche." Perhaps religious themes go beyond the boundaries of fiction and reassert paganism in a Christianizing world. Ironically, Achilles Tatius' treatment appealed to Christians. On the other hand, Heliodorus' treatment reveals the mind of a pagan about to convert: after writing in reaction to Christianity, Heliodorus became Christian.