Download Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?: Essay on the by Paul Veyne PDF

By Paul Veyne

"[Veyne's] current ebook has a few kinship together with his sprightly theoretical paintings Comment on ecrit l'histoire; and he proclaims that its goal was once to impress mirrored image at the manner our perception of fact is equipped up and alterations over the centuries. . . . the fashion is impressive and exhilarating."—Jasper Griffin, Times Literary Supplement

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Extra resources for Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?: Essay on the Constitutive Imagination

Sample text

Athena was his guide , and he killed the Gorgon ! On my part, nothing surprises me or seems unbelievable when the gods bring it to pass . " The most wide5pread modality of belief occurs when one trust5 the word of another. �. >� tricking �- 45 This modality can endure as long as the believer trusts the professionals or until there are no professionals to make laws on the subject . Westerners , at least those among us who are not bacteriologists , believe in germs and increase the sanitary precautions we take for the same reason that the Azande believe in witches and multiply their magical precautions against them: their belief is based on trust .

The ageless human trail found in toponyms originates in the human onomasticon of mythical times. When the 25 C H A PTER Two name of a river is derived from a man's name , we are brought back to the original human presence dating from the time when the region became a human territory . 42 But what caused the name of a king of old to pass to, or be given to , this river? This is precisely what the genealogist would never ask . Verbal analogy is sufficient, and his preferred mode of explanation is archetypal .

To believe is to obey . The pol itical role of religion is not at all a matter of ideological content. A second reason for no longer believing everything that was said was that myth , as it pertained to information , was in competition with the specialists in truth , the " investigators " or historians who , as professionals, began to carry authority . Now , in their eyes it was necessary for myths to fit with the rest of reality , since they claimed to be real . Herodotus , collecting information in Egypt , discovers a cult of Heracles (for a god is a god everywhere , just as an oak is an oak everywhere; but each people gives it a different name , so that divine names are translated from one language to another, just like common nouns) .

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