Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes in August

“I revisit this episode both because I believe that current accounts of this key moment in the construction of the Western epic tradition should be revised, and more generally to urge that purely rhetorical analyses of textual traditions remain inadequate to the extent that they do not consider criticism and interpretation as what Reynolds calls a ‘social act.’“(Andrew Ford; Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World)  I think Ford’s comment resonance with Jasper Griffin (The Divine Audience and the Religion of the Iliad) and Myers (Models of Reception in the Divine Audience of the Iliad).  I think there is not enough recognition of the Audience; divine, in book, historical and contemporary. 

“No matter how many immortals you find in a family tree, the intrusion of a sing mortal will make all successive descendants mortal.  Mortality, not immortality, is the dominant gene.” Gregory Nagy The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours.

Why does it take Achilles nine days to summon the council and ask Chalcis how to end the plague?  And how come seers never speak up without prompting?

Is it the erinnyes job to maintain the distance between men and gods?  For example; they shuttle the mouth of Achilles’ divine horse when it was about to say too much.  Also, their treatment of Panderas’ daughters might explain that since the gods were in the process of making them divine.

Nagy speaking on menis and quoting Muellner (1996:8)  “a feeling not separate from the actions it entails, of a cosmic sanction, of a social force whose activation brings drastic consequences on the whole community.”

“…daughter of Zeus, tell me, as you have told those who came before me.”  Odyssey 1:10  It sounds to me like Homer is admitting that he was not the first poet to sing of Odysseus adventures.

“…the audience of Homeric poetry is presumed to be near and dear”  (Nagy 2:5)  Same assumption Casanova makes of the reader of his Memoirs.

“…a special word houtos “this is how” signaling the activation of a special form of speech know as the anios.”   Here is my (Nagy’s) working definition of ainos; a performance of ambivalent wording that becomes clarified once it is correctly understood and then applied in moments of making moral decisions o affecting those who are near and dear… the ainos requires three qualifications of its listeners in order to be understood:
1. The listeners must be sophoi 'skilled' in understanding the message encoded in the poetry. That is, they must be mentally qualified.
2. They must be agathoi 'noble'. That is, they must be morally qualified.
3. They must be philoi 'near and dear' to each other and to the one who is telling them the ainos. “ 

 Or as Ford puts it; “wise or good, and so  akin to” the speaker. All this talk about secret knowledge reminds me of “Wisdom Literature”, the recognition of which is signaled in the Bible by “how much more so”.

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