Sunday, June 13, 2010


Religion and Laughter

Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960), p. 41 (tr. T.G. Rosenmeyer):
We find it difficult to understand how the gods of one's faith could be subjected to Aristophanic jests. But laughter is part of the meaning, the fruitfulness, the positive side of life, and it is therefore, in the eyes of the Greeks, more godlike than the sour solemnity which we associate with piety.
Hugh Lloyd-Jones, The Justice of Zeus, 2nd edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), p. 133:
The occasional fun poked at the gods in comedy is no evidence against the religious conservatism of the common man; it is when religion is sure of itself that such amusement is permitted.
Richard Janko, The Iliad: A Commentary, Volume IV: Books 13-16 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 170 (on 14.153-353):
Few Greeks ever took their gods wholly seriously: this is, perhaps, the Greeks' greatest gift to civilization.

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