Homer on the Gods and Human Virtue

Author: Peter J. Ahrensdorf

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781316165096

Category: History


View: 302

This book seeks to restore Homer to his rightful place among the principal figures in the history of political and moral philosophy. Through this fresh and provocative analysis of the Iliad and the Odyssey, Peter J. Ahrensdorf examines Homer's understanding of the best life, the nature of the divine, and the nature of human excellence. According to Ahrensdorf, Homer teaches that human greatness eclipses that of the gods, that the contemplative and compassionate singer ultimately surpasses the heroic warrior in grandeur, and that it is the courageously questioning Achilles, not the loyal Hector or even the wily Odysseus, who comes closest to the humane wisdom of Homer himself. Thanks to Homer, two of the distinctive features of Greek civilization are its extraordinary celebration of human excellence, as can be seen in Greek athletics, sculpture, and nudity, and its singular questioning of the divine, as can be seen in Greek philosophy.
Homer's Hero

Author: Michelle M. Kundmueller

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 9781438476674

Category: Philosophy

Page: 274

View: 706

Draws on Plato to argue that Homer elevated private life as the locus of true friendship and the catalyst of the highest human excellence. Offering a new, Plato-inspired reading of the Iliad and the Odyssey, this book traces the divergent consequences of love of honor and love of one’s own private life for human excellence, justice, and politics. Analyzing Homer’s intricate character portraits, Michelle M. Kundmeuller concludes that the poet shows that the excellence or virtue to which humans incline depends on what they love most. Ajax’s character demonstrates that human beings who seek honor strive, perhaps above all, to display their courage in battle, while Agamemnon’s shows that the love of honor ultimately undermines the potential for moderation, destabilizing political order. In contrast to these portraits, the excellence that Homer links to the love of one’s own, such as by Odysseus and his wife, Penelope, fosters moderation and employs speech to resolve conflict. It is Odysseus, rather than Achilles, who is the pinnacle of heroic excellence. Homer’s portrait of humanity reveals the value of love of one’s own as the better, albeit still incomplete, precursor to a just political order. Kundmueller brings her reading of Homer to bear on contemporary tensions between private life and the pursuit of public honor, arguing that individual desires continue to shape human excellence and our prospects for justice. “A beautiful account of the Homeric hero, in all his complexity.” — Mary P. Nichols, author of Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom
The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths

Author: John Heath

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9780429663741

Category: History

Page: 418

View: 646

The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths explores and compares the most influential sets of divine myths in Western culture: the Homeric pantheon and Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Heath argues that not only does the God of the Old Testament bear a striking resemblance to the Olympians, but also that the Homeric system rejected by the Judeo-Christian tradition offers a better model for the human condition. The universe depicted by Homer and populated by his gods is one that creates a unique and powerful responsibility – almost directly counter to that evoked by the Bible—for humans to discover ethical norms, accept death as a necessary human limit, develop compassion to mitigate a tragic existence, appreciate frankly both the glory and dangers of sex, and embrace and respond courageously to an indifferent universe that was clearly not designed for human dominion. Heath builds on recent work in biblical and classical studies to examine the contemporary value of mythical deities. Judeo-Christian theologians over the millennia have tried to explain away Yahweh’s Olympian nature while dismissing the Homeric deities for the same reason Greek philosophers abandoned them: they don’t live up to preconceptions of what a deity should be. In particular, the Homeric gods are disappointingly plural, anthropomorphic, and amoral (at best). But Heath argues that Homer’s polytheistic apparatus challenges us to live meaningfully without any help from the divine. In other words, to live well in Homer’s tragic world – an insight gleaned by Achilles, the hero of the Iliad – one must live as if there were no gods at all. The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths should change the conversation academics in classics, biblical studies, theology and philosophy have – especially between disciplines – about the gods of early Greek epic, while reframing on a more popular level the discussion of the role of ancient myth in shaping a thoughtful life.
Homer’s Iliad

Author: Marina Coray

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG

ISBN: 9783110608717

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 280

View: 216

The renowned Basler Homer-Kommentar of the Iliad, edited by Anton Bierl and Joachim Latacz and originally published in German, presents the latest developments in Homeric scholarship. Through the English translation of this ground-breaking reference work, edited by S. Douglas Olson, its valuable findings are now made accessible to students and scholars worldwide.
Back to the Core

Author: Emma Cohen de Lara

Publisher: Vernon Press

ISBN: 9781622739790

Category: Education

Page: 270

View: 141

Whereas liberal arts and sciences education arguably has European roots, European universities have evolved over the last century to become advanced research institutions, mainly offering academic training in specialized disciplines. The Bologna process, started by the European Union in the late nineties, encouraged European institutions of higher education to broaden their curricula and to commit to undergraduate education with increased vigor. One of the results is that Europe is currently witnessing a proliferation of liberal arts and sciences colleges and broad bachelor degrees. This edited volume fills a gap in the literature by providing reflections on the recent developments in Europe with regard to higher education in the liberal arts and sciences. The first section includes reflections from either side of the Atlantic about the nature and aims of liberal arts and sciences education and the way in which it takes shape, or should take shape in European institutions of higher learning. The edited volume takes as a distinct approach to liberal arts and sciences education by focusing on the unique way in which core texts – i.e. classic texts from philosophical, historical, literary or cultural traditions involving “the best that has been written” – meet the challenges of modern higher education in general and in Europe in particular. This approach is manifested explicitly in the second section that focuses on how specific core texts promote the goals of liberal arts and sciences education, including the teaching methods, curricular reflections, and personal experiences of teaching core texts. The edited volume is based on a selection of papers presented at a conference held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in September 2015. It is meant to impart the passion that teachers and administrators share about developing the liberal arts and sciences in Europe with the help of core texts in order to provide students with a well-rounded, formative, and genuinely liberal education.
The Emergence of Subjectivity in the Ancient and Medieval World

Author: Jon Stewart

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192596345

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 432

View: 993

The Emergence of Subjectivity in the Ancient and Medieval World: An Interpretation of Western Civilization represents a combination of different genres: cultural history, philosophical anthropology, and textbook. It follows a handful of different but interrelated themes through more than a dozen texts that were written over a period of several millennia and, by means of an analysis of these texts, presents a theory of the development of Western civilization from antiquity to the Middle Ages. The main line of argument traces the various self-conceptions of different cultures as they developed historically, reflecting different views of what it is to be human. The thesis of the volume is that through examination of these changes we can discern the gradual emergence of what we today call inwardness, subjectivity, and individual freedom. As human civilization took its first tenuous steps, it had a very limited conception of the individual. Instead, the dominant principle was that of the wider group: the family, clan, or people. Only in the course of history did the idea of what we now know as individuality begin to emerge, and it took millennia for this idea to be fully recognized and developed. The conception of human beings as having a sphere of inwardness and subjectivity subsequently had a sweeping impact on all aspects of culture, including philosophy, religion, law, and art: indeed, this notion largely constitutes what is today referred to as modernity. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that this modern conception of human subjectivity was not simply something given, but rather the result of a long process of historical and cultural development.
The Treatment of the War Dead in Archaic Athens

Author: Cezary Kucewicz

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 9781350151550

Category: History

Page: 296

View: 871

Exploring the representations of the war dead in early Greek mythology, particularly the Homeric poems and the Epic Cycle, alongside iconographic images on black-figure pottery and the evidence of funerary monuments adorning the graves of early Athenian elites, this book provides much-needed insight into the customs associated with the war dead in Archaic Athens. It is demonstrated that this period had remarkably little in common with the much-celebrated institutions of the Classical era, standing in fact much closer to the hierarchical ideals enshrined in the epics of Homer and early mythology. While the public burial of the war dead in Classical Athens has traditionally been a subject of much scholarly interest, and the origins of the procedures described by Thucydides as patrios nomos are still a matter of some debate, far less attention has been devoted to the Athenian war dead of the preceding era. This book aims to redress the imbalance in modern scholarship and put the spotlight on the Athenian war dead of the Archaic period. In addition, the book deepens our understanding of the processes which led to the establishment of first public burials and the Classical customs of patrios nomos, shedding significant light on the military, cultural and social history of Archaic Athens. Challenging previous assumptions and bringing new material to the table, the book proposes a number of new ways to investigate a period where many 'ancestral customs' were thought to have their roots.

Author: Emily Katz Anhalt

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300231762

Category: Social Science

Page: 285

View: 598

“Anhalt’s contribution is building an overarching narrative of how the Greeks engaged problems of anger—problems that continue to provoke.”—Choice Millennia ago, Greek myths exposed the dangers of violent rage and the need for empathy and self-restraint. Homer’s Iliad, Euripides’ Hecuba, and Sophocles’ Ajax show that anger and vengeance destroy perpetrators and victims alike. Composed before and during the ancient Greeks’ groundbreaking movement away from autocracy toward more inclusive political participation, these stories offer guidelines for modern efforts to create and maintain civil societies. Emily Katz Anhalt reveals how these three masterworks of classical Greek literature can teach us, as they taught the ancient Greeks, to recognize violent revenge as a marker of illogical thinking and poor leadership. These time-honored texts emphasize the costs of our dangerous penchant for glorifying violent rage and those who would indulge in it. By promoting compassion, rational thought, and debate, Greek myths help to arm us against the tyrants we might serve and the tyrants we might become. “An engaging and sometimes inspiring guide to the rich complexities of the Iliad . . . Her underlying point is that, from its earliest origins, Western literature questioned the values of the society that produced it.”—The New York Times Book Review “Anhalt has taken on three of history’s most important works of literature and applied their lessons to the present day. Enraged is an important reminder that reflection, dialogue, and empathy have no boundaries or time limits.”—Amanda Foreman, Whitbread Prize-winning author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire “[Anhalt’s study is] rewarding and unnerving . . . A call to arms.”—Bryn Mawr Classical Review