The Literary, Philosophical and Religious Dimensions of Allegory Cover Image

The Literary, Philosophical and Religious Dimensions of Allegory
The Literary, Philosophical and Religious Dimensions of Allegory

Author(s): Aurelian Botica
Subject(s): Greek Literature, Stylistics
Published by: Universitatea Petrol-Gaze din Ploieşti
Keywords: allegory; Hellenistic Greek literature; classical Greek literature;
Summary/Abstract: This paper will analyze the concept of allegory as it was understood and used in classical and Hellenistic Greek literature. We will argue that Greek philosophers developed the technique of allegory partly as a reaction against the mythological worldview of Homer. As Greek thought evolved from a naturalistic expression into a more philosophical worldview, the Greek sophists felt increasely uncomfortable with the tales of violence and sexual immorality of the gods. Accordingly, the philosophers developed the method of allegorization both to save the Homeric myths from the devastating attacks of the critics and to impose the scientific worldview as a non-mythological endeavour. Since Greek culture was born out of the worldview of the Ilyad and the Oddysey some philosophers reinterpreted the myths allegorically. Hence they maintained cultural continuity with the past while allowing critical thought to reach its logical conclusions. They could honor the ancestral religion while criticizing the tales of the gods’ lying, violence and sexual immorality. The purpose of our study is to help the reader understand the origins and the power of allegory. To do so, we will analyze a number of classic texts and the way they were interpreted by contemporary scholarship. We believe that this interdisciplinary approach will help scholars from the field of literature understand better the philosophical and religious background of the birth and development of allegory.

  • Page Range: 175-185
  • Page Count: 11
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Language: English