Plato the Myth Maker

Plato the Myth Maker


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Plato the Myth Maker by Luc Brisson

We think of a myth as a fictional story, and Plato was the first to use the term muthos in that sense. But Plato also used muthos to describe the practice of making and telling myths, 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 and not uncritical description of muthos in light of the latter's famous Atlantis story. The second part of the book contrasts this sense of myth, as Plato does, with another form of speech which he believed was far superior: the logos of philosophy.

Brisson's work is part lexical, part philosophical, and part ethnological, and Gerard Naddaf's substantial introduction shows the originality and importance both of Brisson's method and of Plato's analysis in the context of contemporary debates over the origin and evolution of the oral tradition. Plato the Myth Maker is a solid and important contribution to the history of myth, based on the privileged testimony of one of its most influential critics and supporters.

"This precise and rigorous book . . . is valuable in two ways: first, as a particularly clear definition of Plato's position, and thus a solid contribution to the history of the concept of myth, and second as an extraordinarily rich image that sketches the mythic performance in classical Greece."--L'homme

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226075181
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/28/1999
Edition description: 1
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

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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