kythera family kythera family

Message Board

Message Board > Reply - November 2017 Seminar Series. A Month with the Gods

Reply - November 2017 Seminar Series. A Month with the Gods

submitted by George Poulos on 09.11.2017

The First Seminar in the Month with the Gods series, held at Kythera House, Rockdale was excellent.




Dr Vassilis Adrahtas summary of the first seminar follows:


Divine Generations: Ubiquity and Excellence in Hesiod’s Theogony Summary


The 1st meeting of the seminar series on Hellenic myth was about the enterprise involved in Hesiod’s epic poem Theogony. The meeting had two parts: the first referred to introductory and contextual information on Hesiod and his poem, and the second ventured into presenting and interpreting Hesiod’s experience of the Sacred. The first part focused on the following: the synthesis between the indigenous pre-Hellenic earth-based religiosity and the non-indigenous proto-Hellenic sky-oriented religiosity; the traits of an incipient philosophical mindset with regards to religious matters; and the struggle to achieve a distinct Hellenic identity out of the turmoil period of the so-called Dark Ages (1200-800 BCE). The second part explored four core structural units within Theogony: the primeval gods (verses 116-153), the Uranus – Cronus clash (154-210), the goddess Hecate (411-452), and the Cronus – Zeus clash (453-506) leading to Zeus’ ultimate victory and reign. The interpretation attempted was basically a combination of historical, philosophical and psychoanalytical considerations.


Hesiod’s Theogony was approached as a drama in four acts: dynamism – instability – ubiquity – excellence. Dynamism stands for the primeval divine generations that come out of Chaos (the mythic name for sheer potentiality), whereby everything reaches a sort of breaking point due to the uncontrolled transformations of Uranus (the mythic name for the perceived cosmic reality). Instability is what comes after, when Cronus (the mythic name for relentless temporality) releases everything from their tension but at the same time brings in the predicament of impermanence and lack of purpose. Ubiquity constitutes the realm of Hecate (the mythic name for the all-encompassing and binding earthliness), a female deity that signifies the transformation of impermanence into the rhythmic regularity of nature. Lastly, excellence emerges as the exquisite developmental moment of the eternally-becoming divine turned now into order, a condition embodied mythically in the figure of Zeus. Schematically speaking, Hesiod presents a circle-base spiraling upwards by integrating itself through ever-more compact circular forms and ending with an apex-point that stands as the gist, the thrust and the culmination of the whole process.


The mythical complex one finds in Theogony is not about a Christian-like creation of the world; on the contrary, it is about the self-generation of divine reality. For Hesiod there is only one ‘thing’ which is thoroughly divine whatever the differentiations it presents here and there might be. In this respect, although his theological enterprise gives the impression of some kind of monotheism, in effect what he espouses is what could be dubbed ‘theomonism’: a unified experience of life infused throughout by one and the same sacred quality. It all becomes fully conscious of itself as Zeus-the-Mindful-One, who is indeed a father figure, not in the sense of a caring and affectionate agent –according to the Christian worldview– but in the sense of an orderly controlling principle. Furthermore, the past, the present and the future are all fused within heightened human experience as the reflection of Zeus’ reign: an end that is always here-and-now in the guise of the beginning –and this is what the Hesiodic version of eschatology is all about.

Reply to this message