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The Greeks and the Irrational (Sather Classical Lectures)
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Top Customer Reviews
Dodds's chapters (originally lectures) are roughly chronological and thematic, starting (as one must) with Homer's use of "ate" and working down through the increasing rationality of classical Greece to the Hellenistic Return to Irrationality. En route, he deals with perceived shamanistic influences, the notion of divine inspiration, the question of whether man has a soul, etc.
_The Greeks and the Irrational_ is great in itself and may have value, as Dodds indicates in his closing chapter, to moderns seeking to understand their own relationship with Irrationality. It is also enlightening background reading for any student of the classics generally, in particular providing useful commentary on Homer, Plato (lots on Plato) and the tragedians. Because each chapter was originally a lecture, Dodds' style is eloquent and also readable. Each chapter is buttressed with an impressive clump of endnotes (about a quarter of the book must be notes) for further research.
I very much hope it does that, but a word or two would probably be in place regarding what to expect and what not to expect to find in the book. The author's preface warns us not to look in the book for a history of Greek religion, and more pertinently recognises that modern scholarship is a world of specialists, and Dodds reiterates right at the end that he is `a simple professor of Greek'. Amateurs, dilettantes and bluffers will find plenty of material to suit them I don't doubt, but Dodds is not one of their number. This work is best read as a standard piece of classical scholarship, not as breaking down any moulds or enclosures. The most casual glance at the daunting catalogue of references in the notes appended to each chapter will show what a vast amount of writing on the topics covered here was in situ before Dodds, and how could it be otherwise? Any commentary on, say, Plato or Empedocles or Greek history by and large had to do its best with issues of religion and trends in thought. There are numerous references to other cultures, and Dodds is certainly better versed in such matters than other classics dons that I knew. By my standards he shows wide reading and deep interest in anthropology and human behaviour.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am trying to get a robust idea of Greek natural science. Dodds' book has little to say directly about this, but it told me new things about philosophers who I only knew as... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jordan Bell
I read this while lying on a beach in Ikaria. I enjoy mixing a bit of classic studies with lighter reading while on vacation, and in this case, I read this together with Donna... Read morePublished 13 months ago by LitCrit101
An essential book for studying ancient Greek thought and writings. First published in 1951, it is the standard text on the subject by a very astute and knowledgable scholar.Published 16 months ago by Joann Karges
Most people don't bother to look at the mechanics of sin based societies vs shame based societies. The Greeks, according to Dodds were a shame based culture. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by John M. Beasley
A revelation, a bullet to the brain, an intellectual earthquake, I cannot get enough of Dodds, he's simply one of the greatest writers and thinkers in the history of the world.Published on September 16, 2012 by Reilly Capps
This is not a review of the excellent book itself; refer to other reviews, many of which give the book 5 stars, and so do I. Read morePublished on August 5, 2012 by kkm
The item arrived quickly and in great shape. Although it was a used book, it looked new.Published on September 17, 2010 by dlodge
E.R. Dodds' "The Greeks and the Irrational" is based a series of lectures the author gave at Berkeley in 1949 and by his admission "reproduced here substantially as they were... Read morePublished on October 24, 2005 by Valjean
Surprised to see this old classic still in print, one can certainly recommend it, though with a list of debating points. Read morePublished on February 29, 2004 by John C. Landon