DODDS THE GREEKS AND THE IRRATIONAL PDF

Nov 05, Derek rated it it was amazing Despite its age, this work by Dodds is still considered a seminal text for students of Greek history and classics. The usual survey-level understanding of the Greeks is that they were a culture which always put rationality on a pedestal at the expense of all else and ultimately ignored the irrational until well after the passing of the classical period. Dodds corrects this view, showing irrational impulses and institutions which were more widely accepted during the Archaic, Classical, and Despite its age, this work by Dodds is still considered a seminal text for students of Greek history and classics. Dodds corrects this view, showing irrational impulses and institutions which were more widely accepted during the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic Periods than the works of rationalist philosophers such as Heraclitus and Plato. At a most fundamental level, this work is great for putting Greek intellectuals in their proper place at the fringes of society and in reaction to it. This was one of the first works of ancient history to employ modern anthropological and psychological theory as a tool for interpreting the past.

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Nov 05, Derek rated it it was amazing Despite its age, this work by Dodds is still considered a seminal text for students of Greek history and classics. The usual survey-level understanding of the Greeks is that they were a culture which always put rationality on a pedestal at the expense of all else and ultimately ignored the irrational until well after the passing of the classical period.

Dodds corrects this view, showing irrational impulses and institutions which were more widely accepted during the Archaic, Classical, and Despite its age, this work by Dodds is still considered a seminal text for students of Greek history and classics. Dodds corrects this view, showing irrational impulses and institutions which were more widely accepted during the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic Periods than the works of rationalist philosophers such as Heraclitus and Plato.

At a most fundamental level, this work is great for putting Greek intellectuals in their proper place at the fringes of society and in reaction to it. This was one of the first works of ancient history to employ modern anthropological and psychological theory as a tool for interpreting the past. Though early efforts at this were almost always clumsy and driven more by the theory than by the facts, Dodds uses his modern insights cautiously, judiciously, and helpfully. The scope of the work is broad and every chapter addresses some different aspect of Greek irrationality.

This part seems a bit simplistic and is probably the most dated section, but since the Classics Department at my current university is rather geriatric, I can see why they are still bewitched by this section. Other sections carry with them certain assumptions about the nature of religion which are out of vogue, such as the idea that the beliefs of the elite and common people were completely different. However, that does not necessarily mean that Dodds was wrong and at least his assumptions are out in the open and can be seen for what they are.

If you are a hardcore Hellenophile, then this is one of the best books ever. However, it is definitely not for the casual reader or a novice to the subject matter. Dec 05, Regan rated it it was amazing While Ancient Greeks are most known for the triumph of rationalism over superstition and magic, E.

Dodds presents an alternate history which demonstrates that, despite the intellectual advancements in the direction of reason, the Greeks particularly Plato of the Golden Age fundamentally retained certain pre-5th century magical read: irrational thinking within their traditions. Dodds argues that the progressive excision of "irrationality" in the Stoic and Epicurean traditions turns out to be a regression--a failure to appreciate the affective elements of living a human life.

This book is essential and utterly fascinating. Because it was first delivered as a series of lectures each chapter is relatively short--approx pages , it is eminently digestible and suitable for any audience. But boy, does he pack a lot of detail in: on average there are about footnotes a chapter. This makes this a great bibliographical source in addition to being a spectacular read.

What caused this turn away from an "open" society? He does a great job reviewing all the socio-economic arguments, which he dismisses one by one.

That leaves him with one hypothesis: some I suggest everyone should read chapter 2 on shame- versus guilt-culture, as well as the excellent concluding chapter "Fear of Freedom. That leaves him with one hypothesis: some deep, subconscious fears and desires must have driven the Greeks to embrace the irrational.

Okay, fine. But then he concludes in a way that makes me scratch my head. In his last two paragraphs, Dodds writes that the Greeks lacked an "instrument" for understanding and controlling those unconscious drives. Fortunately, though, we moderns do possess such an instrument. We could achieve a rational, open civilization, if only we choose.

I wonder what exactly that "instrument" might be? Were intellectuals of the s really so optimistic about the potential for psychology to save the world? Nobody in the 21st century seems to believe that Freud is the answer. My college professor was all about Dionysus and mystery cults. He made us read Walter Burkert. Nevertheless, read this book.

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The Greeks and the Irrational

Nacage Copious irrwtional and bibliography placed after each chapter, rather than all at the end. Dodds wrote this book just after the Second World War and I think one of the questions in his mind was, not just that nice encounter in the British Museum, but how could European Society have gone so mad that it did what it did. It is a study of the successive interpretations which Greek minds placed on one particular type of human experience— a sort of experience in which nineteenth-century rationalism took little interest, but whose cultural significance is now widely recognised. But why should dodrs matter to us if it is rational or not? These dreams look like the expression of a deep-seated desire for self-punishment. That is the question out of which this book grew.

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