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CLA 236 - Theology.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

Why do you think this divine family saga is so rife with violence? Note in particular the violence with which each generation overthrows the generation before. How does Zeus end the violence? If we think about the gods as one of the "others" against which Greeks defined themselves, what can we infer about the conditions of human existence from the Theogony's depiction of divine existence? How do the Gods and Human‟s differ? • In relation to Gods, the humans are inferior • Greeks loved myths about humans with great skill that would rival the Gods o Ex. Athena and Arachne – Arachne was a great mortal weaver who bragged that her weaving rivaled that of Athena‟s. Taking offense, Athena challenged Arachne to a contest, which Arachne won by depicting the love transgrissions of the Gods in her tapestry. In a fit of rage Athena turned Arachne into a spider. o Ex. Eos and Tithonus. Eos, a goddess, asks Zeus for eternal life for her lover the mortal Tithonus. Forgets to ask for eternal youth as well so Tithonus is reduced to nothing more that a crinkly voice • Shows that aging and death are a natural process of the human existence • The Gods always prevail o Thus the essential difference between the gods and mortals is power and mortality • This difference helped the Greeks define what it meant to be human by showing mortal limitations Gods: eat nectar and ambrosia • Powerful in a category (ex. Poseidon is the God of the Sea) • 12 Olympians: o Zeus (leader of the gods) o Hera (Zeus‟ sister and wife (kinky), goddess of marriage o Poseidon (Zeus‟ brother and god of the sea) o Hades (Zeus‟ brother and god of the underworld) o Demeter (Zeus‟ sister, goddess of the harvest) o Aphrodite (born from Ouranos‟ severed genetials, goddess of love) o Ares (son of Zeus and Hera, god of war) o Hephaistos (Hera‟s child, god of metalwork) o Athena (Zeus‟ child, goddess of wisdom and war) o Apollo (Zeus and Letos‟ child, god of light, music, and art) o Artemis (Apollo‟s sister, goddess of the hunt) o Hermes (Zeus and the nymph Maia‟s son, god of the messengers and travelers) o Dionysus (Zeus and the human Semele, god of wine and theater) • Greek religion is Anthropomorphic o Gods have human shape, emotions, motivation, and desires o In the Illyiad the gods are cheering and investing in human affairs, but they never suffer for their involvement • Ex. Sarpedon, Zeus‟s son • Zeus attempts to save Sarpedon, but Hera contradicts his intentions and shows him that he cannot favor a human • Gods aren‟t perfect, see Zeus and Hera‟s relationship (jealous wife and philandering husband) o Shows double aspect of humans and Gods o Gods can be jealous and use sex for manipulation o Human like but essentially different o Yet, when push comes to shove, Gods always see to acting for the greater good o Therefore Gods are to be admired, but not emulated • Ethics and morality are a human responsibility • Xenophones (6th BC) o “Man is a measure of al
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