Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual

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University of California Press, 1982 - History - 226 pages
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Discusses the concept of myth, looks at the traditions of Greek ritual, and considers specific Greek myths
  

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Contents

THE ORGANIZATION OF MYTH
1
Table Of Contents ITS THE CULTURE STUPID
9
ITS THE CULTURE STUPID
11
GAYS MARCH ON THE PENTAGON
17
TAILHOOK WITCHHUNT
25
THE PERSISTENCE OF RITUAL
35
BUT IS IT ART?
43
PC KIDNAPPERS
53
WAR STORIES
147
HAND TO HAND COMBAT
149
Notes to Chapter II
158
GROWING UP ABSURD AT WELLESLEY
165
Notes to Chapter III
168
MY DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE ACADEMIC WILDERNESS
173
Notes to Chapter IV
176
COUNTER COUP
181

TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE SCAPEGOAT
59
PC GOES TO CHURCH
65
PC ATTHE NEW YORK TIMES
75
HERACLES AND THE MASTER OF ANIMALS
78
Cacus Indra and Melampus
85
OZZIE AND HARRIET IN HELL
93
Hunter Hero Savior
94
THE GREAT GODDESS ADONIS AND HIPPOLYTUS
99
THE ACADEMIC ZOO
103
BIG GIRLS DONT CRY
105
MACKINNON LUNACY
115
DIGGING THE GRAVE OF ARCHAEOLOGY
121
IN SEARCH
123
THE DEATH OF CRITICISM
135
Notes to Chapter I
143
Notes to Chapter V
187
FRAT ATTACK
189
STRANGER THAN FACT
195
HIGH COURT BACKS HEARING IMPAIRED
197
ECONOMICS OF PANHANDLING
199
Notes to Chapter VI
203
HOMELESS MAN TO GET LAW DOCTORATE
205
INMATES SETTLE WITH AUTHORITIES AT ROLLING HILLS
209
Bibliography
211
PRESIDENT OF SMACTUP PROTESTS DISCRIMINATION
213
THE CHLOROPHYLL MANIFESTO
217
Selected Index
219
REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
223
LETTERS
241
Copyright

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About the author (1982)

German-born scholar Walter Burkert currently teaches at the University of Zurich. He is the leading active scholar of the religion of early and classical Greece. Burkert's work proceeds through intense, meticulous historical and philological investigation, seeking to understand Greek religion in and of itself. His studies wed philology and history with methods drawn from anthropology and resemble the work of Jonathan Z. Smith. But, unlike Smith, who seems to rule out diachronic considerations categorically in favor of synchronic taxonomies or analogical comparisons, Burkert remains interested in questions of long-term historical evolution and cross-cultural influence. Burkert gives particular attention to psychological causation and the biological roots of human behavior as revealed by the science of ethology. For example, his study of Greek sacrifice, Homo necans, roots the practice of sacrifice in the biological necessity faced by prehistoric hunting groups that killed to survive. Burkert suggests that this necessary, aggressive behavior gave rise to anxiety, but through the practice of sacrifice the unavoidable aggression, which otherwise threatened to destroy society, was redirected to its promotion instead. In Structure and History Burkert's theoretical concerns are larger, including both myth and ritual. The precise relation between myth and ritual has been a vexing question for scholars of ancient religions; Burkert places them side by side and links them at a structural level. He thinks ritual is older than myth, because it is a form of behavior found even in animals. Nevertheless, ritual and myth share several important features: Both depend upon basic biological or cultural programs of action and detachment from pragmatic reality. Both serve communication. Because myth and ritual are related in this way, it is possible for them to be found together. Burkert's Greek Religion is the current, standard handbook on the religions of ancient Greece. His most recent work has been devoted to examining the influence of the ancient Near East on archaic Greek civilization.

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