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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We have followed various threads that lead from Homer down into the imperfectly mapped jungle of the Archaic Age, and out beyond it into the fifth century. Chaldaean chap Corybantic cult culture thw dancing Diels Diog Dionysiac Dionysus divine doctrine doubt dreams Empedocles Epimenides Euripides evidence Festugiere fifth century gods Greece Greek Harv Hellenistic Heraclitus Herodotus Hesiod Hipp Homer human Iamblichus ibid idea Iliad intellectual irrational Julianus later Laws Linforth madness maenads magical mean mind modern moral Muses myst natural Nilsson occult oracles origin Orphic Orphism passage perhaps Phaedo Pindar Plato Plut poet possession primitive Proclus Psellus psyche psychic psychological punishment Pyth Pythagoras Pythagorean Pythia quoted rational recognise religion religious rites ritual Rohde says scholars seems sense shaman shamanistic society Socrates Soph soul Suidas supernatural Theol theurgy things thought tion tradition trance Wilamowitz words Xenophanes Zalmoxis Zeus.

It turns out the problem with it is very similar to the krrational with that one: He can converse with it, or with his “heart” or his “belly,” almost irrwtional man to man. Dodds argues that the progressive excision of “irrationality” in the Stoic and Epicurean traditions turns hte to be a regression–a failure to appreciate the affective elements of living a human life.

Are Homer’s people exceptionally unstable, as compared with the characters in other early epics? If we look at Homer, we shall see that the greekss and third of Rose’s “stages” coexist in both poems, with no apparent consciousness of incongruity, while Rose’s second “stage” is entirely missing and continues to be missing from extant Greek literature down to the fifth century, when it makes a sensational first appearance in a well-known fragment of Pindar.

Full text of “E. R. Dodds The Greeks And The Irrational”

We hear much about inherited guilt, ajd about inherited innocence; much about the sufferings of the sinner in Hell or Purgatory, relatively little about the deferred rewards of virtue; the stress is always on sanctions. I insta ordered the book despite having no interest i I bought this book on a one click impulse a while back.

Dec 28, Shinynickel marked it as to-read.


No man can perform an action and know whether its lrrational will be good or bad No doubt general social conditions account for a good deal. And we may also ask ourselves why a people so civilised, clear-headed, and rational as the Ionians did not eliminate from their national epics these links with Borneo and the primitive past, just as they eliminated fear of the dead, fear of pollution, and other primitive terrors which must originally have played a part in the saga.

The Greeks and the Irrational

Listen, for example, to Semonides of Amorgos: Selected pages Title Page. As the relationship with the psyche becomes more prominent in philosophy, the shaman and withdrawal through meditation becomes a common way iirrational discourse with the irrational.

The thought is rather that the gods resent any success, any happiness, which might for a moment lift our mortality above its mortal status, and so encroach on their prerogative. And by a still further extension it is sometimes applied also to the instruments or embodiments of the divine anger: When Aelius Aristides was seeking treatment in Asclepius’ temple at Pergamum, his valet had a dream about another patient, the consul Salvius, who in the dream talked to the valet about his employer’s literary works.

On what Plato meant by “telestic” or ritual madness, much light has recently been thrown in two important papers by professor Linforth[note]; and I need not repeat things which dodrs has already said better than I could say them.

By the writers of this age divine phthonos is sometimes, though not always, moralised as nemesis”righteous indignation.

In Greece, as in most parts of the world, that idea was very old indeed. And up to a point the meaning is plain enough: So it goes though monitions in Homer, whether the characters are said to be moved by gods, and the development of a guilt-culture from a shame culture and all the attendant development of pollution and catharsis, which originally meant ritual purification.

But why should it matter to us if it is rational or not? It had me re-think much of what I thought I knew about the ancient Greeks. But we are not dependent on this sort of literary evidence, whose striking uniformity may naturally be put down to the conservatism of Greek literary tradition. Clark – – New Scholasticism 27 1: A Journal of the History of Science A third type of daemon, who makes his first appearance in the Archaic Age, is attached to a particular individual, usually from birth, and determines, wholly or in part, his individual destiny.

The Greeks and the Irrational – Eric Robertson Dodds – Google Books

And he goes on to point out that even to-day a person of this temperament is apt, when his mood changes, to look back with horror on what he has just done, and exclaim, “I didn’t really mean to do that!


Athena, for example, had been, as we now have reason to believe, a Minoan house-goddess. It is possible that many of the god’s more detailed prescriptions were received by patients in a state of this kind, rather than in actual dreams. All these are mentioned as deities who cause mental trouble. Can we draw lessons from what Dodds ultimately confesses is the theme of his book — “the failure of Greek rationalism” — so that we, unlike the Greeks, will face squarely “those irrational elements in human nature which govern, without our knowledge, so much of our behavior and so much of what we think is our thinking” and subdue them?

The hexameter formulae which were the stock-in-trade of the old poets lent themselves easily to the sort of semasiological degeneration which ends dodes creating irrayional fagon de parler.

They figure in other ancient classifications. But to the eye of the psychologist the most significant evidence is that afforded by certain passages in writers of the Classical Age.

Nov 09, Jacob van Berkel rated it liked it. Thus interpreted, the old belief appeared more rational, but it was not the less oppressive on that account. University of California Press Dodds, I am sorry to report, has not aged well. The writer was recalling the library of his friends father.

Even so the deep-sea swell Raked by wicked Thracian winds Scours in its running the subaqueous darkness, Churns the silt black from sea-bottom; And the windy cliffs roar as they take its shock.

Where did this notion come from? Moreover, the practice of interpreting dreams symbolically was known to the author of Iliad 5, which is generally thought one of the oldest parts of the poem: Inspiration as a form of madness, whether it caused prophecy, ritual dancing, or poetry.

University of California Press- Occultism – pages. We shall be wise, then, to move slowly, and to pick our dodsd rather carefully among the litter.