Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives

Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives

Language: English

Pages: 314

ISBN: 0415511054

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Scholars of classical history and literature have for more than a century accepted `initiation' as a tool for understanding a variety of obscure rituals and myths, ranging from the ancient Greek wedding and adolescent haircutting rituals to initiatory motifs or structures in Greek myth, comedy and tragedy.
In this books an international group of experts including Gloria Ferrari, Fritz Graf and Bruce Lincoln, critique many of these past studies, and challenge strongly the tradition of privileging the concept of initiation as a tool for studying social performances and literary texts, in which changes in status or group membership occur in unusual ways. These new modes of research mark an important turning point in the modern study of the religion and myths of ancient Greece and Rome, making this a valuable collection across a number of classical subjects.

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mentioned in Olympian 13.109 and Nemean 10.44, but their scholia ( = 155 and 82b Dr.) identify the games in question as Theoxenia in honor of Apollo (or, in the case of scholia to Olympian13.109 as ``Philoxenia,'' almost surely an error for Theoxenia). They are mentioned as well in 176 ``INITIATION'' IN MYTH, ``INITIATION'' IN PRACTICE 28 29 30 31 Olympian 7.86, where a scholium (156c Dr.) says that ``Theoxenia'' and ``Hermaia'' were names for the same Pellenian games. Another scholium to

of a human being or of a community of people do not have a single unified shape in toto. We do not understand a person's actions only at their death, rather, we feel we understand their actions when we can sense a coherent unity between how 76 ADOLESCENT INITIATION IN MYTH AND TRAGEDY they respond to various situations. That is, our interpretation of them accounts for the relationship between the information they take in and the actions they take, between input and output. From this

is that ``in the fourth century the border forts of Attica were employed, for the first time, as elements in a system of preclusive frontier defense based on the control of all major routes into Attica.''47 Mark Munn outlined a different view of the function of forts:48 95 IRENE POLINSKAYA Although the urban center, ultimately, was the proper refuge for the population of Attica, garrison forts were essential for the protection of both property and populace in outlying areas. Hence their

relevance. Although we now run immediately into the problem of what truth in our studies is. On the one hand, I certainly am no advocate of an objective and transcendental truth in history which just waits around the corner to be found ^ or, in Lessing's famous image, is seductively presented to us by a god who, in the end, never reveals it. On the other hand, the radical definition of truth as the one explanatory model which a given society embraces and transmits because it neatly dovetails into

it ignorantly or rudely (482^9). The lyre, then, is an instrument associated with speech, and for those who know how to play it properly, with significant speech. In contrast, the new instrument that Hermes invents to replace his lyre, the syrinx, not only is not credited with the power to ``speak'' itself but by its very nature as a wind instrument prevents the man who plays it from speaking, either. Hermes acquiesces in taking the back seat to Apollo not only in music, then, but in speech ^ a

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