Reading both philosophical and theological texts, this book presents an argument against nostalgia: against the myth of a Golden Age, against the posture that sees "modernity" as a problem to be solved.
The Greeks are on trial. They have been for generations, if not millennia, from Rome in the first century, to Romanticism in the nineteenth. We debate the place of the Greeks in the university curriculum, in New World culture--we even debate the place of the Greeks in the European Union. This book notices the lingering and half-hidden presence of the Greeks in some strange places--everywhere from the US Supreme Court to the Modern Olympic Games--and in so doing makes an important (...) new contribution to a very old debate. (shrink)
Porphyry, a native of Phoenicia educated in Athens and Rome during the third century AD, was one of the most important Platonic philosophers of his age. In this book, Professor Johnson rejects the prevailing modern approach to his thought, which has posited an early stage dominated by 'Oriental' superstition and irrationality followed by a second rationalizing or Hellenizing phase consequent upon his move west and exposure to Neoplatonism. Based on a careful treatment of all the relevant remains of Porphyry's originally (...) vast corpus, he argues for a complex unity of thought in terms of philosophical translation. The book explores this philosopher's critical engagement with the processes of Hellenism in late antiquity. It provides the first comprehensive examination of all the strands of Porphyry's thought that lie at the intersection of religion, theology, ethnicity and culture. (shrink)
"What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Asked by the early Christian Tertullian, the question was vigorously debated in the nineteenth century. While classics dominated the intellectual life of Europe, Christianity still prevailed and conflicts raged between the religious and the secular. Taking on the question of how the glories of the classical world could be reconciled with the Bible, _Socrates and the Jews _explains how Judaism played a vital role in defining modern philhellenism. Exploring the tension between Hebraism and (...)Hellenism, Miriam Leonard gracefully probes the philosophical tradition behind the development of classical philology and considers how the conflict became a preoccupation for the leading thinkers of modernity, including Matthew Arnold, Moses Mendelssohn, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. For each, she shows how the contrast between classical and biblical traditions is central to writings about rationalism, political subjectivity, and progress. Illustrating how the encounter between Athens and Jerusalem became a lightning rod for intellectual concerns, this book is a sophisticated addition to the history of ideas. (shrink)
When Apollonius' Argonautica began to reemerge as an epic worthy to be read as a classic in its own right in the 1960s and following, scholarly interest focused largely on topics such as the nature of the hero, narrative technique, limited scholarly audience, realism, the poem's engagement with archaic, classical, and contemporary texts, and its reception among later writers. In the 1990s, scholars began to examine the rehabilitated epic for evidence of possible engagement with contemporary political and cultural issues. Thalmann's (...) new monograph builds upon this productive trend, offering a detailed analysis of the "space" defined by the Argonautic journey, "the medium through which it raises and probes those cultural questions" . Cultural geography and anthropology inform the author's analytical method , according to which "human cultures do not just use space but produce it and are shaped in turn by it". (shrink)