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Myths of the Underworld Journey

Myths of the Underworld Journey
Plato, Aristophanes, and the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets

£67.00

  • Date Published: November 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521834346

£ 67.00
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About the Authors
  • This book was first published in 2004. Plato, Aristophanes and the creators of the 'Orphic' gold tablets employ the traditional tale of a journey to the realm of the dead to redefine, within the mythic narrative, the boundaries of their societies. Rather than being the relics of a faded ritual tradition or the products of Orphic influence, these myths can only reveal their meanings through a close analysis of the specific ways in which each author makes use of the tradition. For these authors, myth is an agonistic discourse, neither a kind of sacred dogma nor a mere literary diversion, but rather a flexible tool that serves the wide variety of uses to which it is put. The traditional tale of the journey to the Underworld in Greek mythology is neither simple nor single, but each telling reveals a perspective on the cosmos, a reflection of the order of this world through the image of the other.

    • Detailed studies of three different types of texts: Plato's Phaedo (philosophic), Aristophanes' Frogs (comedy), Orphic gold tablets (burial)
    • Study of the nature of myth in ancient Greece by comparison of different tellings of the tale
    • Study of traditional Greek mythic ideas of the afterlife and the realm of the dead
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Edmonds is a lively and intelligent guide to the many forks and detours on the journey. … anyone with an interest in Greek eschatology will find it a stimulating book.' JACT

    Review of the hardback: '… provides solid, interesting, and helpful insights'. Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    Review of the hardback: 'This is an enterprising, enjoyable, and scholarly book … Edmonds' extensive treatment of the gold funerary lamellae should help to make those puzzling but fascinating texts better known, and his discussions of both the Frogs and the Phaedo deserve close attention from anyone seriously interested in those very different yet mythologically related works. Edmonds' arguments are always informative and thought-provoking, even where they prompt disagreement.' Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    Review of the hardback: '… stimulating … Edmond's approach leads to some intriguing discussion, and he does show how careful attention to the way the elements of a traditional tale are reworked in each telling can uncover hidden complexities.' Journal of Hellenic Studies

    Review of the hardback: '… convincingly analyses how extensively Plato in the Phaedo redefines the ritual purity of the mysteries and funeral rites and traditional elements in mortuary journeys … The fascination for the reader in this analysis, as in Edmond's earlier ones, will be found in the details.' Raymond J. Clark, University of Ottowa

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2004
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521834346
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the start of the journey
    2. Roadmaps of déviance: the 'Orphic' gold tablets
    3. Descent into the depths of comedy: The Frogs of Aristophanes
    4. The upward path of philosophy: the myth in Plato's Phaedo
    5. Conclusions: the end of the road.

  • Author

    Radcliffe G. Edmonds, III, Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania

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