Logos and Muthos

Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature

Edited by William Wians

Subjects: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Literary History
Series: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438427362, 289 pages, July 2010
Hardcover : 9781438427355, 289 pages, October 2009

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Table of contents


Introduction: From Muthos to . . .
William Wians

I: Homer and the Philosophers

1. Archaic Knowledge
J. H. Lesher

2. Homer's Challenge to Philosophical Psychology
Fred D. Miller Jr.

3. Aletheia from Poetry into Philosophy: Homer to Parmenides
Rose Cherubin 4. No Second Troy: Imagining Helen in Greek Antiquity
Ramona Naddaff

5. Allegory and the Origins of Philosophy
Gerard Naddaf

6. Philosophical Readings of Homer: Ancient and Contemporary Insights
Catherine Collobert

II: Philosophy and Tragedy

7. Violence and Vulnerability in Aeschylus's Suppliants
Sara Brill

8. The Agamemnon and Human Knowledge
William Wians

9. Poetic Peitho as Original Speech
P. Christopher Smith

10. Luck and Virtue in Pindar, Aeschylus, and Sophocles
C. D. C. Reeve

11. Sophocles' Humanism
Paul Woodruff

12. The Fake That Launched a Thousand Ships: The Question of Identity in Euripides' Helen
Michael Davis

About the Contributors
Index of Ancient Passages
Index of Names

Explores the philosophical dimensions present in the works of ancient Greek poets and playwrights.


What are the connections between ancient Greek literary and philosophical texts? Are they in fact two rival forms of discourse mutually opposed to one another? Concentrating on literary authors such as Homer, Hesiod, the Archaic poets, and the tragic playwrights, the contributors in this pioneering volume examine the concerns that such literary authors shared with their philosophical contemporaries. Equal attention is given also to the extent to which each group of authors shows an awareness of the demands and limitations of their forms, and how the study of nonphilosophical authors illuminates the goals and characters of ancient philosophizing. These essays reveal a dynamic range of interactions, reactions, tensions, and ambiguities, showing how Greek literary creations impacted and provided the background against which Greek philosophy arose in more intricate and complex ways than previously believed.

William Wians is Professor of Philosophy at Merrimack College and editor of Aristotle's Philosophical Development: Problems and Prospects.


"…Wians convenes outstanding philosophers and scholars of ancient Greece to treat this topic with regard to Homer (who gets half the book) and the broader literary tradition—mostly the tragedians. No chapter disappoints … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE