vir litterarum wrote:Anyway, I was just wondering whether anyone had any ideas on why cultures such as these associated literature almost exclusively it seems with religion,
vir litterarum wrote:whereas Greek and Latin literature from the outset were less tied to Greek and Roman religion.
paulusnb wrote:1001 Nights?
vir litterarum wrote:My point is that literature for literature's sake existed in Greece and Rome, but by and large that did not seem to be the case in Arabic with the Qu'ran's influence, Sanskrit with the Vedas, and Hebrew with the Old Testament.
paulusnb wrote:but education in a community, regardless of what the contemporary atheist movement says, is often related to the priestly class and religious piety.
Lex wrote:Was originarlly Persian, if I'm not mistaken.
vir litterarum wrote:Even if one considers Homer religious, his version of Greek religion was not set in stone. Euripides often chooses alternate versions of the same myths, and Plato of course completely throws Homer out of the ideal civilization. What would happen if some early Arabic author had thrown the Qu'ran out of the ideal state? My point is that literature for literature's sake existed in Greece and Rome, but by and large that did not seem to be the case in Arabic with the Qu'ran's influence, Sanskrit with the Vedas, and Hebrew with the Old Testament.
paulusnb wrote:The 1902 edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica claims it was Arabic. And if memory serves, Burton translated it from Arabic.
paulusnb wrote: You do remember what happened to Socrates right? And Aristotle fled Athens lest it sin against philosophy a second time.
.Lex wrote: paulusnb wrote: You do remember what happened to Socrates right? And Aristotle fled Athens lest it sin against philosophy a second time.
This brings up the age-old question: Did the elite take the myths seriously, or just they just believe that they were useful as part of a civic religion, the purpose of which was to maintain what we today would call cultural cohesiveness?
paulusnb wrote:First, sorry, Lex, to have edited something you responded to.
paulusnb wrote:I do not know how Socrates' death brings up this question,
paulusnb wrote:Socrates never suggests blowing up the cave Matrix style.
paulusnb wrote:Socrates was ugly and beaten by his hag of a wife.
Lex wrote:But many people believe that either a myth must be either believed in whole-heartedly, or it ruins the myth. I think there is something to that, especially if the myth is used to reinforce moral values or civic virtues. Only a sophisticated mind can throw out the bath water, but leave the baby. Most people don't have sophisticated minds. Did the elite Greeks believe that the myths were "necessary lies", and to reveal them as untrue would ruin their efficacy (hence the need to kill Socrates before he revealed too much corrupting truth)? Or did they believe the myths as the peasants probably did (hence the need to kill Socrates for before he spread too much corrupting falsehood)?
Lex wrote:Did the elite Greeks believe that the myths were "necessary lies", and to reveal them as untrue would ruin their efficacy (hence the need to kill Socrates before he revealed too much corrupting truth)? Or did they believe the myths as the peasants probably did (hence the need to kill Socrates for before he spread too much corrupting falsehood)?
Lex wrote:True, but he was always out gallivanting with the youths of Athens and corrupting them. If I were Xanthippe, I would have beaten him, too.
I am not trying to argue that art did not flourish in Greece and Rome. I simply do not believe that it was as divorced from religion and the state as we make it. It was not really "art for art's sake."
You do remember what happened to Socrates right?
vir litterarum wrote:were Arabic authors free to contradict the content of the Qu'ran?
vir litterarum wrote:I am not saying religion did not have a profound influence on Greek art, but Homer's pervasive influence on all that followed him was more aesthetic and than dogmatic.
vir litterarum wrote:Granted, but you must admit that Socrates' putative atheism was less the impetus for his execution than his opponents' ulterior motives.
Kasper wrote:Isn't this more about the way the Greeks and Romans perceived their gods - as fallible beings who were not all powerful, not all knowing, etc. This seems to have given the Greeks and Romans some leverage in their own conduct and perception of the gods, at least compared to judeo/christian/islamist perceptions of God. Also their view of the afterlife seems to have been quite different, which certainly would have allowed a less fearful lifestyle, and therefore less fearful art.
just my two cents worth...
Hmmm. I am not sure about this one. I also do not know about this dichotomy: dogmatic or aesthetic. Did Homer's portrayal of Achilles and Odysseus have no ethical/moral effect on the generations raised on them?
IreneY wrote:I feel the whole piety thing and Socrates' and Plato's piety or lack thereof is another matter altogether but I just have to mention that the accusations against both Socrates and Alkibiades just used religion as a pretext).
IreneY wrote:True, he gets mighty upset if you refuse to honour him and, I suppose, if you are stingy with the wine and true, you'd better lock away your girls if you don't want his followers to show them what that protruding bit is for, but he is a god who you honour by getting pissing drunk.
It's not exactly what I call religious respect.
paulusnb wrote:How well does Socrates feed his children? And, notice, we never really see Socrates with his own children. Plato has Socrates neglect the home for a reason. I believe that he was showing the somewhat questionable position of a philosopher in a community.
paulusnb wrote: But I think that Plato takes the impious charge very seriously. I think that the questions that Athens asks Socrates, and the demands they make, are very good ones. Going to the noble lie, Socrates admits in Book X of the Republic that the poets are not lying about heroes when they have them behave badly. He says that the poets exacerbate the naturally pitiable condition of humans, making us dwell on our own desires and not the community. In this way, truth gets in the way of a common good. A community's lie becomes justifiable if most people are inherently incapable of dealing with the truth. So, a polis has to ask a philosopher why? Will philosophy create Alcibiades or will it create Leonidas? Which one is better for a city?
As Aristophanes makes clear in the Clouds, a community's suspicion of the philosopher is justified. Odysseus is the philosophic prototype, and look at the way he treats Penelope (a little slow to get home). How well does Socrates feed his children? And, notice, we never really see Socrates with his own children. Plato has Socrates neglect the home for a reason. I believe that he was showing the somewhat questionable position of a philosopher in a community.
Perhaps our understanding of piety and respect have been shaped my contemporary conditions. It has always baffled me, but look at the ancient obsession with the penis. As I understand it, Alcibiades violated the Hermes statues by knocking off the penises. In Pompeii, there are wind chime penises. I understand that certain religious processions would contain phalli in them. Every time I think I have the ancient world figured out, I hear or read something that makes me rethink it.
As far as drunkenness and piety, Carnivale is related to the coming of Lent. But excess in this situation--a last donut, or a cigarette, etc--points to piety. Many people who get hammered on Fat Tuesday walk around with ashes the next day. The two are connected.
IreneY wrote:I am not sure what you refer to when you say that the questions and demands of the Athenians were very good ones.
IreneY wrote:As for the rest, I disagree but I think that discussion at least, will take us too far away from the main subject and its little subsidiaries.
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