The Theological Interpretation of Myth

Pomegranate 7 (1):27-41 (2005)
Abstract
This article seeks in the Platonic philosophers of late antiquity insights applicable to a new discipline, the philosophy of Pagan religion. An impor¬tant element of any such discipline would be a method of mythological hermeneutics that could be applied cross-culturally. The article draws par¬ticular elements of this method from Sallust and Olympiodorus. Sallust’s five modes of the interpretation of myth (theological, physical, psychical, material and mixed) are discussed, with one of them, the theological, singled out for its applicability to all myths and because it interprets myth in reference exclusively to the nature of the Gods and their relationship to a model of the cosmos in its totality. The other modes of interpretation, while useful in particular contexts, are not uniformly applicable to all myths, interpret the myths as concerning things other than the Gods themselves, and interpret the myths with reference to particular sectors of the cosmos. Accordingly, it is from Sallust’s theological mode of interpre¬tation that the new method draws its inspiration. From Olympiodorus the method derives strategies for interpreting basic narrative attributes that myths share with all stories. Thus temporal sequence is interpreted as an ascent, from our perspective, from less perfect to more perfect manifestations of the powers of the Gods. Passivity, conflict, and transitive relations in general between the Gods are interpreted as expressing attributes of the cosmos to the constitution of which the Gods dedicate their energies, rather than as placing constraint upon the Gods themselves. The article concludes with a series of broad principles meant to guide the new method.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Myth and Interpretation.Monique Dixsaut - 2012 - In Catherine Collobert, Pierre Destrée & Francisco J. Gonzalez (eds.), Plato and Myth: Studies on the Use and Status of Platonic Myths. Brill.
Myths of Sexuality Education.Ronald Morris - 1997 - Journal of Moral Education 26 (3):353-361.
Myths and Mathematics in Our Vision of the World.Mark Colyvan - 2005 - Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Hans-Georg Gadamer and the Philosophy of Religion.David Vessey - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):645-655.
Modes of Interpretation and Interpretative Constraints.Stein Haugom Olsen - 2004 - British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):135-148.
TheTitanicand the Art of Myth.Stephen Cox - 2003 - Critical Review 15 (3-4):403-434.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-11-13

Total downloads

23 ( #214,490 of 2,153,830 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #225,089 of 2,153,830 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums