Plato the Myth Maker / Edition 2

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The word myth is commonly thought to mean a fictional story, but few know that Plato was the first to use the term muthos in that sense. He also used muthos to describe the practice of making and telling stories, the oral transmission of all that a community keeps in its collective memory. In the first part of Plato the Myth Maker, Luc Brisson reconstructs Plato's multifaceted description of muthos in light of the latter's Atlantis story. The second part of the book contrasts this sense of myth with another form of speech that Plato believed was far superior: the logos of philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Anyone familiar with the writings of Plato will be aware of his use of the tradition of myth in his dialogs. Plato recognized the importance of myth in all cultures generally and often used it as a tool to convey ideas or concepts which were otherwise difficult to formulate and expound. Brisson, who writes frequently on the classics, begins with an examination of Plato's description of muthos, particularly as it relates to the continent of Atlantis, and the war between Atlantis and Athens as related in the Critias and Timaeus. He then contrasts muthos with the logos found at the heart of philosophical reasoning. Brisson does an excellent job of analyzing Plato's use of the two speech forms, and the translator's introduction does considerable service in setting the tone. There are also three appendixes that deal with the occurrences of the term muthos in Plato's dialogs, the derivatives of the term and its compounds, and a list of proper names mentioned by Plato and in ancient Greek myths. Recommended for all libraries, particularly those with collections in ancient philosophy or the history and development of myth.--Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226075198
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Luc Bisson is the directeur de recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and vice president of the International Plato Society.

Gerard Naddaf is an associate professor of philosophy at York University.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
A Note on the Translation
List of Abbreviations
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
PART I: PLATO'S TESTIMONY: The Communication of the Memorable
1. Information
2. Means of Transmission
3. Fabrication
4. Narration
5. Reception
6. Imitation
7. Persuasion
PART II: PLATO'S CRITIQUE: The Discourse of and for the Other
8. Myth as Discourse
9. The Opposition between Myth and Falsifiable Discourse
10. The Opposition between Myth and Argumentative Discourse
11. The Utility of Myth
12. The Repudiation of Allegorical Interpretation
13. Plato's Derivative Use of the Term "Muthos"
Index of Passages Cited or Mentioned
Index of Greek Terms
General Index

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