How Philosophers Saved Myths: Allegorical Interpretation and Classical Mythology

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Overview

In this concise but wide-ranging study, Luc Brisson describes how the myths of Greece and Rome were transmitted from antiquity to the Renaissance. He argues that philosophy was responsible for saving myth from historical annihilation. Although philosophy was initially critical of myth, mythology was progressively reincorporated into philosophy through allegory. Brisson reveals how philosophers employed allegory and how it enabled myth to take on a number of different interpretive systems throughout the centuries: moral, physical, psychological, political, and even metaphysical.
             “This wonderful book confirms Brisson’s status as one of the major authorities in the field of classical antiquity. Overall, and with this excellent translation, the book is invaluable.”—Choice
            “A compressed overview with moments of great insight. . . . Its strengths lie in the details Brisson is able to work into this brief treatment.”—Peter Struck, Journal of Religion

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
2006 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice magazine
 
"In his brilliant and lively book, Brisson follows the history of the link between myth and philosophy all the way up to the Renaissance. This wonderful book confirms Brisson's status as one of the major authorities in the field of classical antiquity. Overall, and with this excellent translation, the book is invaluable."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226075372
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 221
  • Sales rank: 1,024,511
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Luc Brisson is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France. He is the author of several books, including Plato the Mythmaker, published in English by the University of Chicago Press. Catherine Tihanyi, a research associate at Western Washington University, has translated a number of books for the University of Chicago Press, including Adam Biro’s Two Jews on a Train.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Note
Preface to the French Edition
Introduction
1. Muthos And Philosophia
2. Plato's Attitude toward Myth
3. Aristotle and the Beginnings Of Allegorical Exegesis
4. Stoics, Epicureans, and the New Academy
5. Pythagoreanism and Platonism
6. The Neoplatonic School of Athens
7. Byzantium and the Pagan Myths
8. The Western Middle Ages
9. The Renaissance
Conclusion
Index of Greek Terms
General Index

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