From the Marginals to the Center: Olga Freidenberg's Works on the Greek Novel


  • Nina V. Braginskaia


A survey of the ideas and writings of Olga Freidenberg, who was the first one (in early 1920s in Russia) to draw the comparison between pagan erotic novels and both Apocryphal Acts and Canonical Acts and Gospels. She defined a narrative genre standing behind them all as ‘Acts and Passions’ of a hero. Earlier than anyone in Europe she came to the conclusion that the ‘Greek’ novel was Oriental in its origin, that the plots of its different narratives exhibit a retentive archetypal pattern which turned out to be a remake of the legomenon which can be traced back to the dromenon of the fertility cults.

The Table of contents of Freidenberg’s book on the origin of Greek novel and a chapter from it, which scrutinizes the names of the characters in the Acts of Paul and Thecla accompany the survey.