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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Be that as it may, the rarity of open scepticism about Delphi before the Roman period is very striking.

The Greeks and the Irrational

But why should it matter to us if it is rational or not? And the belief lived on in the popular mind long after Aeschylus’ day. No categories specified categorize this paper. Dodds takes on the traditional view of Greek culture as a triumph of rationalism.

Although I don’t necessarily agree with every detail in this book, it is, overall, an excellent work of scholarship and interpretation. The writer said the book was a pivot point in his classical career. 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 vary inversely: Urdummheit and Afterwards E.

Dodds’ Edition of the Gorgias and its ‘Primary Purpose’. But insight does not belong to men: Yet these stable characters are not more exempt than others from psychic intervention. Let us start from that experience of divine temptation or infatuation ate which led Agamemnon to compensate himself – 3 – for the loss of his own mistress by robbing Achilles of his.

In a world of specialists, such borrowings from unfamiliar disciplines are, I know, generally received by the learned with apprehension and often with active distaste. We shall see in later chapters that strong traces of this way of interpreting the passions survive even in writers like Euripides and Plato. Extraordinarily erudite and inciteful. I shall come back to the subject of catharsis in a later chapter. Like the other, it has abundant savage parallels; we may call it the “shamanistic” view, in contrast with the doctrine of possession.

In the light of these passages it seems fairly safe to say that the supernatural origin of mental disease was a commonplace of popular thought in Homer’s time, and probably long before, though the epic poets had no particular interest in it and did not choose to commit themselves to its correctness; and one may add that it has remained a commonplace of popular thought in Greece down to our own day.

Be that as it may, it was detailed factual truth that Hesiod sought from them, but facts of a new kind, which would enable him to piece together the traditions about the gods and fill the story out with all the necessary names and relationships.


Nobody in the 21st century seems to believe that Freud is the answer.

Lhe llegit dues vegades, el i el If you’re a professional Hellenist, it’s definitely worth a look, I’d say – if you’re not, probably better stick to something less specialized. Page 1 – Individuality is founded in feeling; and the ghe of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done.

For additional discussion, see my post 38 here. And I do not mean merely that where, for example, a modern American might dream of travelling by ‘plane, a primitive will dream that he is carried to Heaven by an eagle; I mean that in many primitive societies there are types of dream-structure which depend on a socially 14 – 1 transmitted pattern of belief, and cease to occur when that belief – – ceases to be entertained. Here the action of the daemon is not moralised in any way: At any rate we read in Alexander Polyhistor that “the whole air is full of souls, who are worshipped as the daemons and heroes, and it is these who send mankind dreams tje omens”; and we find a like theory ascribed to Posidonius.

I must say that it’s a few decades and takes Freud rather more seriously than turned out to be wise.

Incubation had been practised in Egypt since the fifteenth century B.

The furniture of Heaven has altered little with the centuries; it remains an idealised replica of the only world we know. So far as they go, I think they are valid.

Dodds – – Journal of Hellenic Studies 73 Through the work of Freud, the guilt meant to be grweks with overthrowing the father are surely apparent to us Moderns—to Greek society, it was a terribly great and indulgent sin. The jars have nothing to do with justice: Webster – – Diogenes 1 3: Dodds was able to achieve this insight notwithstanding his acceptance of the conventional nineteenth- and twentieth-century view of Plato as having “developed,” i.

But in attempting even this, I shall have to traverse grefks which has been churned to deep and slippery mud by the heavy feet of contending scholars; ground, also, where those in a hurry are liable to trip over the partially decayed remains of dead theories that have not yet-been decently interred. From these experiences, narrated by him in extempore song, he derives the skill in divination, religious poetry, and magical medicine which makes him socially important.


Eric R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational – PhilPapers

This was not superfluous; for only in this way could it be jrrational vivid to the imagination of the hearers.

No doubt it startled the fourth-century Athenian reader vreeks less than it startles us; for it is implied a little further on that most people in Plato’s time regarded madness as something discreditable, an But the father of Western rationalism is not represented as maintaining the general proposition that it is better to be mad than sane, sick than sound.

Hence it is not surprising that man was slow to confine the attribute of reality to one of his two worlds, and dismiss the other as pure illusion. And when the importance of Delphi declined, as it did in Hellenistic times, the main reason was not, I suspect, that men had grown as Cicero thought more sceptical, [ There are a number of passages in Homer in which unwise and unaccountable conduct is attributed to ateor described by the cognate verb aasasthaiwithout explicit reference to divine intervention.

The family was the keystone of the archaic social structure, the first organised unit, the first domain of law. The temporary possession of a heightened menos is, like atean abnormal state which demands a supernormal explanation. Both statements are correct. Il libro nel suo completo rimane, nonostante i suoi 60 anni, un contributo fondamentale, filologico e antropologico quasi “psicologico”, per iniziare a c Per me che mi sono rivolto al libro alla ricerca di un’esegesi della meccanica che “regola” i sentimenti degli eroi nei poemi omerici, sono state particolarmente illuminanti le pagine che Dodds dedica all’analisi delle celeberrime parole di Agamennone: But Anacreon can say to his beloved, “You are the master of my psyche Semonides can talk of “giving his psyche a good time”; a sixth-century epitaph from Eretria can complain that the sailor’s calling “gives few satisfactions to the psyche Here the psyche is the living self, and, more specifically, the appetitive self; it has taken over the functions of Homeric thumosnot those of Homeric noos.

From ShameCulture to GuiltCulture. The middle ages get the equally and oppositely ridiculous image of the world of irrationality; for that I recommend C. We may doubt if any such distinction was drawn in earlier times.