Qty:1
  • List Price: $52.50
  • Save: $7.66 (15%)
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by apex_media
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ships direct from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $25. Overnight and 2 day shipping available!
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $1.09
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (Mythos Books) Paperback – June 5, 1991


See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, June 5, 1991
$44.84
$40.24 $13.31
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (Mythos Books) + Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (Cambridge Library Collection - Classics)
Price for both: $89.76

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on the current pick, "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell.

Product Details

  • Series: Mythos
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (June 5, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691015147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691015149
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Jane Ellen Harrison (1850-1928) was a pioneer in the academic study of myth. Using the then emerging disciplines of anthropology and ethnology, she demonstrates in this book (from 1903) that the mythological tales of the Greeks embody systems of belief which are widespread among societies both 'primitive' and 'advanced'. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Harrison's Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion is a book that breathes life. It is an exciting, deeply felt intellectual quest, with a broad view of the role of religion in life, ancient and modern. Harrison is not afraid to look for relevance in archaic cult, and doesn't flinch on finding it. From a study of Greek anthropomorphism, she can conclude, like a seeress looking beyond the early twentieth century: 'to be human is not necessarily to be humane.'"--Richard Martin, Princeton University


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Indispensable, for anyone interested in archaic rite, comparative religion, or ancient Greek culture.
Reading and studying Jane Harrison's Prolegomena was such a pleasure. Her brilliance and wide knowledge shines on every page! Even today (Professor Harrison died of leukemia in 1928) modern scholars and intellectuals such as Walter Burkert and Camille Paglia continue to draw on her magnificent work. There are particular passages -- on ecstasy and asceticism, for example -- of such beauty that they seem to transcend scholarship and border on the divine. Her work is so thorough one begins to understand the weight of a great and complex society which myth itself only brushes. Her other works, including Themis and the dazzlingly concise Epilogemena also enlighten and inspire, but Prolegomena is the place to start.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark Cooper on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although published in the early 1900s and outdated in certain areas, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion is still an essential read for anyone interested in Greek Religion. Perhaps the best description of the book would be to call it the Greek Golden Bough.
In this classic work, Harrison sought to uncover the primitive substratum of Greek religion, so rather than focusing on the
Olympian deities, she spends the better part of the book discussing ghosts, 'demons', and the chthonic deities. The religious landscape that she illuminates is therefore nothing like the cheery and rational world of the Olympians. The dark, the creepy and the uncanny tend to predominate.
The book is very well-written, and the author's fascination with her material is infectious. I found it so powerful a reading experience that I can only describe Prolegomena in terms of a kind of anthropological prose poetry. Although its ostensible topic is a rather specialized and obscure field of enquiry, one comes away from the book with a feeling of having gained a deeper insight into that most general of topics, the human condition.
I have to agree with the other reviewer who emphasizes that this is not a book for those completely unfamiliar with ancient Greek religion. Moreover, parts of it might be frustrating and tedious for readers without knowledge of the ancient Greek language, since Harrison is constantly engaged in the elucidiation and discussion of Greek religious terminology.
All in all, an unforgettable book that, unlike most academic studies, is a piece of great literature.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Snowbrocade VINE VOICE on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jane Ellen Harrison was a ground breaking scholar in the field of mythology--she was one of a group of what was called the "Cambridge Ritualists" who believed that contrary to prior belief that myths arose from rituals rather than rituals from myths.

Her primary thesis in Prolegomena is that the religion of the Greeks and Romans has been only selectively reported in order to support a vision of rational, highly civilized people as the progenitors of western thought. Scholarship of the 19th century was founded on the notion that "the integrity of Western Civilization depends upon the exceptionality of the Greeks" (p. xx). This vision was developed by the Romantic movement to support a superior intellectual foundation to western civilization that emerged from the Greek and Romans.

Harrison argues that in fulfilling this desire to have exalted ancestors, the true religion of the Greeks has been overlooked. Her scholarship is focused on what has not been noticed-her conclusion is that the Olympian gods of Homer are the final product of centuries of evolution from a more primitive collection of chthonic deities or forces.

Harrison is more interested in the earlier forms of religion--the underworld beings that were placated to prevent evil. She is a master at examining greek texts and art to delineate these ancient deities. As Harrison says: "Great things in literature, Greek plays for example, I most enjoy when behind their bright splendours I see moving darker and older shapes"

This book can be utilized as a reference to understand certain Greek myths more easily--or read it straight through to get a more thorough understanding of the world of Greek mysticism!!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was searching for an answer to the mystery that was in the Greek Mysteries. Harrison provides the answers. Prolegomena provides a very detailed account of the Mysteries that are rooted in worship of the the Chthonic (Earth) Gods that preceded the Olympian deities. The reading level of this book is probably the most difficult I have ever experienced in a book that I am reading purely for pleasure. You must have a burning interest in the field of ancient Greek religion to be able to appreciate this book for the great work it is.
Jaime Gomez
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on August 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although partly out-of-date, Jane Harrison's analysis of 'neglected' aspects of Greek religion proves these aspects to be 'essential'. By dissecting rites, ceremonies, festivities and mysteries, she exposes the real obsessions of the Ancient Greek (Plato included). Instead of being 'possessed by a set of conceptions based on Periclean Athens', she shows astonishingly that Ancient Greece was still a totally irrational, savage and primitive society, dominated by ignorance and fear. Her picture is far more gloomy than the rosy one drawn by other scholars, who imposed their own language on ancient societies ('We should not monotheize').

In Ancient Greece, there was no 'civil' law. Law was essentially magic and in the first place a curse. People thought that they could injure their enemies by curse tablets, swathed figures ... In Plato's 'Laws', people who injured other citizens by magic had to die.

Ignorance and fear concerning the souls of the death, sprites, ghosts and demons were a fertile ground for theology (better: demonology). Evil spirits reflected the population's own savage, cruel and irrational passions and relations. (Porphyry: 'No Greek sacrifice of a camel or an elephant').
The Greek believed that evil was a physical infection that could be transferred on animals and human beings. The latter could be sacrificed in order to purify the rest of the population. One is astonished to learn that human sacrifices still took place in the 5th century BC. 'Pharmakoi' were kept and fed at the public expense in order to be slaughtered in rites of Aversion (riddance of evil spirits).
Winds were believed to be ghosts who had to be placated by sacrifices. The latter (humans were better than animals) took also place for mandic reasons.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?