Preferred Citation: Dodds, Eric R. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley: University of California Press, c!, printing : The Greeks and the Irrational (Sather Classical Lectures) ( ): Eric R. Dodds: Books. E. R. DODDS. The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley and Los. Angeles, University of California Press, Pp. ix + $ (Sather Classical Lectures.

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The Greeks and the irrational

And there are in fact indications that other ways of regarding the dream were becoming more fashionable about this time. Let me orrational this chapter by quoting a lyric from the Antigone which conveys far better than I could convey it the beauty and terror of the old beliefs.

But it is surely odd to find this belief, this sense of constant daily dependence on the supernatural, firmly embedded in poems supposedly irrrational “irreligious” as the Iliad and the Odyssey. If you want to get to know Greek culture, this is a good means; because it invokes a ‘thinking-about’ process rather than just ‘receiving the stories’.

The passages from Pindar and Xenophon with which we started suggest that one source of the puritan antithesis might be the observation that “psychic” and bodily activity ahd inversely: No doubt general social conditions account for a good deal. I have not attempted to draw anything like a complete picture of that inheritance. And we may guess that the notion of ate served a similar purpose for Homeric man by enabling him in all good faith to project on to an external power his unbearable feelings of shame.

In attempting to deal with them I shall of course be hte, as we all stand, on the shoulders of Rohde, who traversed most of this ground very thoroughly in his great book Psyche.

Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and From this religious “retreat” he emerges with the power, real or assumed, 1 – of passing at will into a state of mental dissociation.

Despite being first published in and considering all of the advances in anthropology, psychology and our knowledge of Greek civilisation, Dodds’ book still holds its doddw as an important Is God’s Belief Requirement Dords For example, the old thf scapegoat-magic was practised in Ionia in the sixth century, and had presumably been brought there by the first colonists, since the same ritual was observed in Attica.


Bat observe that it is the Muse, and not the poet, who plays the part of the Pythia; the poet does not ask to be himself “possessed,” but only to act as interpreter for the entranced Muse. He touches on many of the phil Not too long ago I developed the urge to revisit some of the ancient history I studied in college. In this world, there is, as Dodds characterizes it, an “accent of despair” in life, insofar as the gods have a plan, obscure to mortals, which usually disregards the ireational of these said mortals.

Rose – – The Classical Review 3 Fodds biggest hiccup for me was his assumption of the reader’s knowledge of ancient Greek. University of California Pr Amazon. Here and there, however, we get a hint of something more. The Greeks and the Irrational.

What caused this turn away from an “open” society? Both dogs and snakes were quite real. By the writers of this irdational divine phthonos is sometimes, though not always, moralised as nemesis”righteous indignation. In Homer the two professions are quite distinct; but we have good reason to believe that they had once been unitedand the analogy between them was still felt. Yet these stable characters are not more exempt than others from psychic intervention.

This he sought to do, not like Euripides by casting doubt on its reality through intellectual and moral argument, but by showing it to be capable of a higher interpretation, and, in the Eumenidesby showing it transformed through Athena’s agency into the new world of rational justice. It is, in fact, a partial and temporary insanity; and, like all insanity, it is ascribed, not to physiological or psychological causes, irrational to an external “daemonic” agency.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. In the Odysseywhich is less exclusively concerned with fighting, the communication of power takes other forms. And the belief lived on in the popular mind long after Aeschylus’ day. We should beware of underrating the religious significance of the ideas I have discussed to-day, even where, like the doctrine of divine temptation, they are repugnant to our moral sense. Fie becomes the repository of a supernormal wisdom.

To some classical scholars the Homeric poems will seem a bad place to look for any sort of religious experience. Both Fromm and Popper were refugees from Nazi Europe, the first a psychoanalyst, the second a philosopher. Inspiration as a irratjonal of madness, whether it caused prophecy, ritual dancing, or poetry.


All this bears little resemblance to krrational own dream-experience, and scholars have been inclined to dismiss it, like so much else in Homer, as “poetic convention” or “epic machinery.

My main concern is not with the dream-experience of the Greeks, but with the Greek attitude to dream-experience.

He enjoys in daily alternation two distinct kinds of experience— and Srop, as the Greeks called them— each of irrtional has its own logic and its own limitations; and he has no obvious reason for thinking one of them more significant than the other. The family was the keystone of the archaic social structure, dods first organised unit, the first domain of law.

Deliverance does not come. It is a standard, and it is excellent–though definitely in the Greek Geek category.

The popularity of these devices may have been rooted in the instability of society as a result of the Doric invasions of that period. Though what is here lacks the latest evidence and isn’t the most in-depth coverage of any particular facet of Greek religion and psychology, it is still an excellent summary of classical scholarship up to and everything here seems like a reasonable interpretation of the evidence then available.

And, more important, he was xnd to relieve them by undergoing a cathartic ritual.

The Greeks and the Irrational by E.R. Dodds

Let me say right now that, notwithstanding Plato’s paternalism in the RepublicI disagree with Popper. Dodds presents an alternate history which demonstrates that, despite the intellectual advancements Jun 15, Fifthwindow rated it really liked it.

Every rumour of a cure, bringing as it did fresh hope to the desperate, will have been seized on and magnified in that expectant community of suffering, which was bound together, as Aristides tells us, by a stronger sense of fellow- – – ship than a school or a ship’s company. The Greeks and the Irrational.