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The Early Greek Concept of the Soul (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology) Paperback – October 21, 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0691101903 ISBN-10: 0691101906 Edition: Reissue

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Editorial Reviews

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"Since Erwin Rohde published Psyche in 1893, the theme of the soul and its relation to life before and after the death of the body has interested scholars of ancient Greek religion. Jan Bremmer's contribution to the discussion is likely to become definitive, for its conclusions as well as its procedures. . . . For such a brief book it is unusually clear and comprehensive in its treatment and thorough in its examination of primary sources. It extracts Greek materials from the hands of specialists to situate them in the broad context of humanistic study."--Larry J. Alderink, Journal of the History of Religions
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Product Details

  • Series: Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology
  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reissue edition (October 21, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691101906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691101903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Slater on August 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although the publication date given for the paperback edition is 1987, that represents the rather plain-looking "Limited Paperback Edition" reissue of this 1983 Princeton publication, not the later (1993) MYTHOS series paperback, with its beautiful cover. If you happen to order a used copy, you may get something a lot less attractive than you expected, but the contents are identical.

And the contents are worth having, if you are interested in the problems of early Greek thought about human personality, consciousness, and survival after death. Since later developments of these are still influential in Western Civilization (Jewish as well as Christian) -- and help distinguish it, and its Islamic cousin, from say, Taoism, Hinduism, or Buddhism -- this is not exactly a trivial topic, of interest only to academics who love to quarrel over texts in dead languages.

Bremmer's short book picks up a long-running argument -- apparently going back before Plato -- about just what Homer was talking about when he describes the thoughts, emotions, vital organs, and deaths of his characters, and how the poetic vocabulary of the epics influenced -- or didn't influence -- Greek popular and elite thought through the classical period. (If "breath" and "spirit" are the same word, are lungs "spiritual" organs? What about the heart, which Odysseus admonishes for its unruly emotions? Is losing consciousness a form of death?) Plato raises objections to Homer, and Aristotle splits up Homeric ideas between his treatises on animals, on physiological issues, and on "The Soul," but the philosophers still wind up quoting the same familiar lines.
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The Early Greek Concept of the Soul (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology)
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