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Genealogies of ancestral fault

Author: Renaud Gagné
Publisher: 2007.
Dissertation: Ph. D., Dept. of Classics (Classical Philology) Harvard University 2007
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
From Homer to Proclus, the idea that delayed divine punishment can strike at descendants for the crimes of their forebears has continued to play a central role in Greek culture. This is what I refer to as ancestral fault in the following study. The idea of ancestral fault was a cornerstone of such fundamental Greek social institutions as the oath and the curse, for instance, and for centuries it remained a key
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Details

Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Renaud Gagné
OCLC Number: 432300992
Notes: "May 2007."
Description: 2 volumes (782 leaves) ; 29 cm
Responsibility: by Renaud Gagné.
More information:

Abstract:

From Homer to Proclus, the idea that delayed divine punishment can strike at descendants for the crimes of their forebears has continued to play a central role in Greek culture. This is what I refer to as ancestral fault in the following study. The idea of ancestral fault was a cornerstone of such fundamental Greek social institutions as the oath and the curse, for instance, and for centuries it remained a key element in the cultural memory and the ritual life of the polis. It played an important role in early epic, lyric, iambic, and elegiac poetry, in tragedy and historiography, medical literature, Classical and Hellenistic philosophy, writings of the Second Sophistic, and Neoplatonic teaching. In large part as a consequence of this abundance of material, ancestral fault has exercised a deep fascination in the work of modern classical scholarship. There has, however, been no exhaustive study on the topic since 1904.

In an effort to reevaluate the significance of this material for contemporary cultural history, the present dissertation aims to shed light on the twin genealogies of ancestral fault: both its development as a category of modern scholarship, and its origin as an element of early Greek culture. Whereas a first part of this study is concerned with the receptions of Greek ancestral fault, from Plutarch's De Sera Numinis Vindicta to the scholarship of the late 20 th century, the second half looks at the earliest attestations of ancestral fault in the Archaic period. This involves a detailed discussion of the first extant documents of ancestral fault in the records of Greek institutions, and close readings of the discourses of Archaic Greek poetry relevant to the question. Individual chapters are devoted to the institution of the generational oath, to Homer and Hesiod, Archilochus, and Solon. This work on the genealogies of ancestral fault is designed as a model for a planned exhaustive investigation of ancestral fault in the Classical period.

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