The Origins of Greek Thought

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Cornell University Press, 1984 - 144 pages
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Jean-Pierre Vernant's concise, brilliant essay on the origins of Greek thought relates the cultural achievement of the ancient Greeks to their physical and social environment and shows that what they believed in was inseparable from the way they lived. The emergence of rational thought, Vernant claims, is closely linked to the advent of the open-air politics that characterized life in the Greek polis. Vernant points out that when the focus of Mycenaean society gave way to the agora, the change had profound social and cultural implications. "Social experience could become the object of pragmatic thought for the Greeks," he writes, "because in the city-state it lent itself to public debate. The decline of myth dates from the day the first sages brought human order under discussion and sought to define it. . . . Thus evolved a strictly political thought, separate from religion, with its own vocabulary, concepts, principles, and theoretical aims."
 

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Table des matières

Introduction
9
The Historical Background
15
Mycenaean Royalty
23
The Crisis of Sovereignty
38
The Spiritual Universe of the Polis
49
The Earliest Sages
69
The Structure of the Human Cosmos
82
Cosmogonies and Myths of Sovereignty
102
The New Image of the World
119
Conclusion
130
Index
136
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À propos de l'auteur (1984)

The late Jean-Pierre Vernant was Professor of Comparative Study of Religions at the College de France in Paris.

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