Greek Praise Poetry and the Rhetoric of Divinity (Oxford Classical Monographs)

June 13, 2021
Greek Praise Poetry and the Rhetoric of Divinity (Oxford Classical Monographs)

The polar dichotomy between man and god, and the insurmountablegulf between them, are considered a fundamental principle ofarchaic and classical Greek religion. Greek Praise Poetry and theRhetoric of Divinity argues that poetry produced between the eighthand the fifth centuries BC does not present such a uniform view ofthe world, demonstrating instead that particular genres of poetrymay assess the distance between humans and gods differently.Discussion focuses on genres where the boundaries appear to be moreflexible, with wedding songs, victory odes, and selected passagesfrom tragedy and comedy taken as case studies that illustrate thatsome human individuals may, in certain situations, be presented asenjoying a state of happiness, a degree of beauty,or an amount of power comparable to that of the gods. A centralquestion throughout is whether these presentations stem from anindividual poet's creative ingenuity or from the conventionalideological repertoire of the respective genre, and how thisdifference might shape the comparison of a human with the gods.Another important question concerns the ritual contexts in whichsome of these songs would have been performed, expanding the scopeof the analysis beyond merely a literary device toencompass a fundamental aspect of archaic and classical Greekculture.