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Author Topic: Homer's Gods, Plato's Gods.  (Read 10097 times)
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Last Login:June 12, 2008, 12:01:20 pm
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Religion: Hellenismos
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« Topic Start: May 31, 2008, 09:17:35 am »

This is a subject that is a regular feature of my meditations. The more I contemplate it the more I'm coming to a synthesis but not quite completely yet.

Dr Jan Garrett in his chart, and article which you can access from the link at the bottom of the page, presents two opposing views of the Gods. I'm not so sure first that his presentation is representative of the views of either Plato or Homer and second that even if they are representative the opposing viewpoints are completely contradictory.

Dr Garrett presumes that Plato assumes the Gods are perfect, the implication is that Homer dos not.
Plato is a philosopher and Homer is a poet and therefore the differences between their works can be assumed as a consequence of their respective professions alone, without reference to the perfection or alleged imperfection of the Gods.

The difference as far as I understand it between a philsophical and poetic view of the Gods is the difference between principle and practice. The philosopher posits eternal principles to be contemplated and the poet reveals how those principles actually work out in practice, using a story or narrative to get the point over.

Take for instance Dr Garret's first comparison between Plato and Homer on whether the Gods were born.
Plato assumes that the Gods are eternal but Homer as does Hesiod has the Gods as being born. Is this actually a contradiction? Mythology operates outside of our commonplace understanding of space and time, so to me the two views don't have to be presented as a contradiction. The birth of Zeus from Rhea, for instance, is in a sense always happening, because it's an eternal reality.

It would be interesting if we could take a look at some of the other dualities presented here and find ways to come to a synthesis for each one.

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