It is a little known fact – at least it was to me – that The Wizard of Oz (1939) is the most quoted and alluded to movie of all time. Think of how many times you hear lines like “Well Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more!”, “There’s no place like home”, “I’ll get you my pretty…” and “I’m melting!”
If we applied the same criteria to articles in the field of biblical studies, which article would be the most cited? Well, my suggestion is this article by Samual Sandmel:Samuel Sandmel, “Parallelomania,” Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962): 1-13.Not only have I seen it cited many times but it deserves credit for adding a new word to the English theological dictionary.Sandmel writes:
We might for our purposes define parallelomania as that extravagance among scholars which first overdoes the supposed similarity in passages and then proceeds to describe source and derivation as if implying literary connection flowing in an inevitable or predetermined direction.
Surely the exhortation to avoid the error of parallomania is as valid today as it was in 1962?
Perhaps you have a nomination for the title – I’d love to hear it.
Many thanks the Society of Biblical Literature for their kind permission to reproduce this article.