Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?

An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination

Author: Paul Veyne

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226854342

Category: History

Page: 161

View: 4865

"[Veyne's] present book has some kinship with his sprightly theoretical work Comment on ecrit l'histoire; and he declares that its aim was to provoke reflection on the way our conception of truth is built up and changes over the centuries. . . . The style is brilliant and exhilarating."—Jasper Griffin, Times Literary Supplement

When Our World Became Christian

312 - 394

Author: Paul Veyne

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745683371

Category: Religion

Page: 240

View: 9169

This short book by one of France's leading historians deals with a big question: how was it that Christianity, that masterpiece of religious invention, managed, between 300 and 400 AD, to impose itself upon the whole of the Western world? In his erudite and inimitable way, Paul Veyne suggests three possible explanations. Was it because a Roman emperor, Constantine, who was master of the Western world at the time, became a sincere convert to Christianity and set out to Christianize the whole world in order to save it? Or was it because, as a great emperor, Constantine needed a great religion, and in comparison to the pagan gods, Christianity, despite being a minority sect, was an avant-garde religion unlike anything seen before? Or was it because Constantine limited himself to helping the Christians set up their Church, a network of bishoprics that covered the vast Roman Empire, and that gradually and with little overt resistance the pagan masses embraced Christianity as their own religion? In the course of deciding between these explanations Paul Veyne sheds fresh light on one of the most profound transformations that shaped the modern world - the Christianization of the West. A bestseller in France, this book will appeal to a wide readership interested in history, religion and the rise of the modern world.

Le pain et le cirque

Author: Paul Veyne

Publisher: Viking Adult

ISBN: 9780713990034

Category: History

Page: 491

View: 1227

Discusses the practice of civic giving in Ancient Greece and Rome and its role in support of the political system and the social order, and in the orderly redistribution of wealth

Homer's Secret Odyssey

Author: Florence Wood,Kenneth Wood

Publisher: The History Press

ISBN: 0752463896

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 3622

The extraordinary story of the breaking of an Ancient Greek code Homer is renowned as the finest of the storytellers who for countless generations passed down by word of mouth the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. Yet, for some 2,500 years, there have been persistent folk memories that his genius extended far beyond literature and that scientific knowledge was hidden in his stories of heroes, villains, gods, ghosts, monsters, and witches. Research now reveals that at a time when the Greeks did not have a written script, Homer concealed an astonishing range of learning about calendar making and cycles of the sun, moon, and planet Venus in the Odyssey, his epic of the Fall of Troy and the adventures of the warrior-king Odysseus.


An Irreplaceable Treasure

Author: Paul Veyne

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022645293X

Category: History

Page: 128

View: 7594

Located northeast of Damascus, in an oasis surrounded by palms and two mountain ranges, the ancient city of Palmyra has the aura of myth. According to the Bible, the city was built by Solomon. Regardless of its actual origins, it was an influential city, serving for centuries as a caravan stop for those crossing the Syrian Desert. It became a Roman province under Tiberius and served as the most powerful commercial center in the Middle East between the first and the third centuries CE. But when the citizens of Palmyra tried to break away from Rome, they were defeated, marking the end of the city’s prosperity. The magnificent monuments from that earlier era of wealth, a resplendent blend of Greco-Roman architecture and local influences, stretched over miles and were among the most significant buildings of the ancient world—until the arrival of ISIS. In 2015, ISIS fought to gain control of the area because it was home to a prison where many members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood had been held, and ISIS went on to systematically destroy the city and murder many of its inhabitants, including the archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, the antiquities director of Palymra. In this concise and elegiac book, Paul Veyne, one of Palymra’s most important experts, offers a beautiful and moving look at the history of this significant lost city and why it was—and still is—important. Today, we can appreciate the majesty of Palmyra only through its pictures and stories, and this book offers a beautifully illustrated memorial that also serves as a lasting guide to a cultural treasure.

Writing History

Essay on Epistemology

Author: Paul Veyne

Publisher: Manchester University Press

ISBN: 9780719017285

Category: Historiography

Page: 342

View: 1263

The Interpretation of Cultures

Author: Clifford Geertz

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465093566

Category: Social Science

Page: 576

View: 9550

In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.

All Things Shining

Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age

Author: Hubert Dreyfus,Sean Dorrance Kelly

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781439101704

Category: Religion

Page: 272

View: 7297

In unrelenting flow of choices confronts us at nearly every moment of our lives, and yet our culture offers us no clear way to choose. This predicament seems inevitable, but in fact it’s quite new. In medieval Europe, God’s calling was a grounding force. In ancient Greece, a whole pantheon of shining gods stood ready to draw an appropriate action out of you. Like an athlete in “the zone,” you were called to a harmonious attunement with the world, so absorbed in it that you couldn’t make a “wrong” choice. If our culture no longer takes for granted a belief in God, can we nevertheless get in touch with the Homeric moods of wonder and gratitude, and be guided by the meanings they reveal? All Things Shining says we can. Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly illuminate some of the greatest works of the West to reveal how we have lost our passionate engagement with and responsiveness to the world. Their journey takes us from the wonder and openness of Homer’s polytheism to the monotheism of Dante; from the autonomy of Kant to the multiple worlds of Melville; and, finally, to the spiritual difficulties evoked by modern authors such as David Foster Wallace and Elizabeth Gilbert. Dreyfus, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, for forty years, is an original thinker who finds in the classic texts of our culture a new relevance for people’s everyday lives. His lively, thought-provoking lectures have earned him a podcast audience that often reaches the iTunesU Top 40. Kelly, chair of the philosophy department at Harvard University, is an eloquent new voice whose sensitivity to the sadness of the culture—and to what remains of the wonder and gratitude that could chase it away—captures a generation adrift. Re-envisioning modern spiritual life through their examination of literature, philosophy, and religious testimony, Dreyfus and Kelly unearth ancient sources of meaning, and teach us how to rediscover the sacred, shining things that surround us every day. This book will change the way we understand our culture, our history, our sacred practices, and ourselves. It offers a new—and very old—way to celebrate and be grateful for our existence in the modern world.

Athens in Paris

Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought

Author: Miriam Leonard

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0199277257

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 2354

Exploring the influence of ancient Greece on a group of seminal post-war French thinkers writing about modern politics, this work demonstrates the ways in which ancient debates about democracy and citizenship continue to be relevant to modern political and philosophical preoccupations.

Prester John: The Legend and its Sources

Author: N.A

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409438074

Category: History

Page: 348

View: 6252

The story of the mysterious oriental leader Prester John, who ruled a land teeming with marvels and might come to the aid of Christians in the Levant, held an intense grip on the medieval mind. It has received much scholarly attention, but never before have the sources been collected and coherently presented to readers. This book now brings together a fully-representative set of sources from which we get our knowledge of the legend. These texts, spanning from the Crusades to the Enlightenment, are presented in their original languages and in English translation.

The Modern Construction of Myth

Author: Andrew Von Hendy

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 9780253339966

Category: Social Science

Page: 386

View: 1428

This book offers an integrated critical account of the career of myth in modernity. It takes as its starting point some crucial moments in the eighteenth-century reinvention of the concept and then follows the major branches of theorising as they appear in the work of theologians, philosophers, literary artists, political thinkers, folklorists, anthropologists, psychologists, and others from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. The modern construction of myth began during the eighteenth century with the gradual transformation of the genre of the fable into what we know now as "myth." This transformation was capped by the romantic definition of the concept elaborated by two generations of German and English poets and philosophers. The entrenchment of their transcendental premises in nineteenth-century culture provoked the appearance of three major rivals: Marx's "ideological" conception of myth as widely propagated lie; Grimm's "folkloristic" view of myth as a genre of story held sacred in traditional oral societies; and Nietzsche's "constitutive" conception of myth as a foundational belief, at once necessary and fictive. Von Hendy pursues each of these four fundamental strains of theory as a guide through the explosion of speculation about myth that characterises the twentieth century. First, he considers the rise of neo-romantic theories in depth psychology, modernist literature, and a subsequent mid-century burst of theorising in religious phenomenology, philosophy, and literary criticism. Next he marks the establishment by Boas, Malinowski, and eventually Levi-Strauss of folkloristic theory as the norm in modern ethnological fieldwork and ultimately in classical studies. Then Von Hendy traces the growth of ideological theories from Sorel at the beginning of the century to Barthes and Derrida toward the close. These theories become in the latter part of the century particularly powerful enemies of neo-romantic pretensions. The final section of the book concerns the still more recent ascent of constitutive theories of myth as necessary fiction. Von Hendy examines the work of five theorists who attempt to come to terms with the lessons of the ideological critique and yet regard myth as a constructive phenomenon.

Greek Mythology

An Introduction

Author: Fritz Graf

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801853951

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 9972

This revised translation of Fritz Graf's highly acclaimed introduction to Greek mythology offers a chronological account of the principal Greek myths that appear in the surviving literary and artistic sources and concurrently documents the history of interpretation of Greek mythology from the 17th century to the present. First surveying the various definitions of myth that have been advanced, Graf proceeds to examine topics such as the relationship between Greek myths and epic poetry, the connection between particular myths and shrines or holy festivals, the use of myth in Greek song and tragedy, and the uses and interpretations of myth by philosophers and allegorists.

Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece

Author: Dennis D. Hughes

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134966385

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 1675

Numerous ancient texts describe human sacrifices and other forms of ritual killing: in 480 BC Themistocles sacrifices three Persian captives to Dionysus; human scapegoats called pharmakoi are expelled yearly from Greek cities, and according to some authors they are killed; Locrin girls are hunted down and slain by the Trojans; on Mt Lykaion children are sacrificed and consumed by the worshippers; and many other texts report human sacrifices performed regularly in the cult of the gods or during emergencies such as war and plague. Archaeologists have frequently proposed human sacrifice as an explanation for their discoveries: from Minoan Crete children's bones with knife-cut marks, the skeleton of a youth lying on a platform with a bronze blade resting on his chest, skeletons, sometimes bound, in the dromoi of Mycenaean and Cypriot chamber tombs; and dual man-woman burials, where it is suggested that the woman was slain or took her own life at the man's funeral. If the archaeologists' interpretations and the claims in the ancient sources are accepted, they present a bloody and violent picture of the religious life of the ancient Greeks, from the Bronze Age well into historical times. But the author expresses caution. In many cases alternative, if less sensational, explanations of the archaeological are possible; and it can often be shown that human sacrifices in the literary texts are mythical or that late authors confused mythical details with actual practices.Whether the evidence is accepted or not, this study offers a fascinating glimpse into the religious thought of the ancient Greeks and into changing modern conceptions of their religious behaviour.

Philip Sparrow Tells All

Lost Essays by Samuel Steward, Writer, Professor, Tattoo Artist

Author: Samuel Steward

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022630471X

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 256

View: 5429

Samuel Steward (1909–93) was an English professor, a tattoo artist for the Hells Angels, a sexual adventurer who shared the considerable scope of his experiences with Alfred Kinsey, and a prolific writer whose publications ranged from scholarly articles to gay erotica (the latter appearing under the pen name Phil Andros). Perhaps his oddest authorial role was as a monthly contributor between 1944 and 1949 to the Illinois Dental Journal, an obscure trade publication for dentists, where writing as Philip Sparrow he produced a series of charming, richly allusive, and often quirky essays on a wildly eclectic assortment of topics. In Philip Sparrow Tells All, Jeremy Mulderig has collected thirty of these engaging but forgotten columns, prefacing them with revealing introductions that relate the essays to people and events in Steward’s life and to the intellectual and cultural contexts in which he wrote during the 1940s. In these essays we encounter such famous friends of Steward as Gertrude Stein, André Gide, and Thornton Wilder. We hear of his stint as a holiday sales clerk at Marshall Field’s (where he met and seduced fellow employee Rock Hudson), of his roles as an opera and ballet extra in hilariously shoddy costumes, of his hoarding tendencies, his disappointment with the drabness of men’s fashions, and his dread of turning forty. We go along with him to a bodybuilding competition and a pet cemetery, and together we wander the boulevards of Paris and the alleys of Algiers. Throughout, Mulderig’s entertaining annotations explain the essays’ wide-ranging allusions and also highlight their gay subtext, which constituted a kind of private game that Steward played with his mostly oblivious audience of Midwestern dentists. The first collection of any of Samuel Steward’s writings to be republished since his death in 1993, Philip Sparrow Tells All makes these lost essays available to a broad readership that Steward imagined but never actually enjoyed when he wrote them. In doing so, it takes a major step toward documenting his important place in twentieth-century gay literature and history.

The Burnout Society

Author: Byung-Chul Han

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804797501

Category: Philosophy

Page: 72

View: 2711

Our competitive, service-oriented societies are taking a toll on the late-modern individual. Rather than improving life, multitasking, "user-friendly" technology, and the culture of convenience are producing disorders that range from depression to attention deficit disorder to borderline personality disorder. Byung-Chul Han interprets the spreading malaise as an inability to manage negative experiences in an age characterized by excessive positivity and the universal availability of people and goods. Stress and exhaustion are not just personal experiences, but social and historical phenomena as well. Denouncing a world in which every against-the-grain response can lead to further disempowerment, he draws on literature, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences to explore the stakes of sacrificing intermittent intellectual reflection for constant neural connection.