Myth, Religion and Society

Myth, Religion and Society

by R. L. Gordon


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The essays in this volume explore different aspects of the relation between Greek myth and Greek thought between the Archaic period (Homer and Hesiod) and the Hellenistic period, highlighting both the continuities and the contrasts in the Greek interpretations and 'uses' of myth. With the exception of the essay by Louis Gernet, all bear traces of the authors; attempts to combine older views stemming essentially from Durkheim and his pupils with Levi-Strauss's version of structuralism. Because the potential field is unmanageably large this selection concentrates on four important areas: the value of Greek myth in revealing the underlying coherence of Greek views of divinity; the manner in which Greek myth constructed meanings for Greek culture as a whole by selecting and combining certain motifs derived from different areas of life; the relationship between myth and delicate areas of social existence such as the nature of the value of certain objects and the passage of individuals from one status to another; and finally, the role of the myth in providing 'forms' for breaking rules - both in order to confirm the norm and to provide symbolic and actuals means of escape from dominant social rules and meanings. This book should be of interest to students in a number of disciplines concerned with myth and ancient society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521296403
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/07/1982
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Myth and divinity: 1. The union with Metis and the sovereignty of heaven J. P. Vernant; 2. The 'Sea Crow' M. Detienne; Part II. The Human Condition: 3. The myth of Prometheus in Hesiod J. P. Vernant; 4. Sacrificial and alimentary codes in Hesiod's myth of Prometheus J. P. Vernant; 5. Land and sacrifice in the Odyssey: a study of religious and mythical meanings P. Vidal-Naquet; 6. The myth of 'Honeyed Orpheus' M. Detienne; Part III. Myth and Social Order: 7. 'Value' in Greek myth L. Gernet; 8. The Black Hunter and the origin of the Athenian epheberia P. Vidal-Naquet; 9. Recipes for Greek adolescence P. Vidal-Naquet; Part IV. Disorder and Deviance: 10. Slavery and the rule of women in tradition, myth and utopia P. VIdal-Naquet; 11. Athens and Atlantis: structure and meaning of a Platonic myth P. Vidal-Naquet; 12. Between beasts and Gods M. Detienne; Abbreviations used; Notes; Works cited.

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