Tag Archives: homer

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled: The Hero’s Journey by Thomas Van Nortwick, a 1996 paperback from Oxford University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Thomas Van Nortwick Somewhere I Have Never Travelled from Oxford University Press

“Exploring the hero’s journey as a metaphor for spiritual evolution, this book combines literary, psychological, and spiritual insights to examine three ancient epics: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad, and Virgil’s Aeneid. Van Nortwick focuses on the relationship of the hero to one or more ‘second selves,’ or alter egos. Through these second selves the poems address central and enduring truths about human life: that heroism in pursuit of glory can lead to alienation from one’s self; and that spiritual wholeness can only be achieved through what appears, at first, to be the negation of the self. The discussion also serves as an introduction to the central themes and historical evolution of ancient epic.” — back cover

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretative Essays, edited by Helene P Foley, 3rd printing of the 1994 paperback published by Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Helene P Foley The Homeric Hymn to Demeter from Princeton University Press

“The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, composed in the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.E., is a key to understanding the psychological and religious world of ancient Greek women. The poem tells how Hades, lord of the underworld, abducted the goddess Persephone and how her grieving mother, Demeter, the goddess of grain, forced the gods to allow Persephone to return to her for part of each year. Helene Foley presents the Greek text and an annotated translation of the Hymn, together with selected essays by Helene Foley, Mary Louise Lord, Jean Rudhardt, Nancy Felson-Rubin and Harriet M. Deal, Marilyn Arthur Katz, and Nancy Chodorow. These essays give the reader a rich understanding of the Hymn’s structure and artistry, its role in the religious life of the ancient world, and its meaning for the modern world. The authors also study the Hymn in the context of early Greek epic and cosmology, examine its critical attitude to the institution of marriage, and analyze the dynamics of mother-daughter relations in the poem.” — back cover

Theology is God-talk

Hermetic Library fellow Sam Webster has posted a discussion of the discipline of theology over on his Arkadian Anvil blog at “Theology is God-talk“.

“Theology is God-talk. It is a relatively recent discipline. They did not have this in ancient, pre-Christian times. They did philosophy and that served in the same role as what will become theology. When you wanted to discuss what is meant by myth and ritual, or what the world is, or how life should be lived, this was called by Pythagorus first ‘philosophy’, or the love of wisdom. Those called the ‘theo-logoi’ in the ancient world where the poets like Homer and Orpheus, and but at times even Empedocles and Plato, because according to Porphyry, they wrote allegorically and had hidden meaning in their writings, not because they wrote rationally. Philosophy had the exegetical task of trying to tease out the meaning buried in the poem and dialogues. The philosophers therefor developed methods for interpreting the poems and myths created by the theologians and developed all the major categories of what will become theological discourse, as well as the culture to critique them.” [via]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“It is, of course, common knowledge that great secret systems of the Mysteries (referred to in, our lectures as ‘noble orders of architecture,’ i.e., of soul-building) existed in the East, in Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, amongst the Hebrews, amongst Mahommedans and amongst Christians; even among uncivilized African races they are to be found. All the great teachers of humanity, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Moses, Aristotle, Virgil, the author of the Homeric poems, and the great Greek tragedians, along with St. John, St. Paul and innumerable other great names—were initiates of the Sacred Mysteries.” [via]