It is a common deed that Greek and Roman culture, which is a foundation of European modern culture, can be separated from Middle Eastern culture from which the Hebraic culture was born and that christianity was in turn born from this latter united to the Greek culture .
Things are not this way. There is no “culture of a population”, there are interests pertaining to single individuals, to single men who impose themselves over the masses. The obstacle in front of these interests of ruling (which can be recognized in some Hebrews, rulers over the emotional structure of Hebrews led to Babylon, or in Plato who identified himself with the demiurge, owner and creator of world and souls) were the Babylonian religious culture made by Sumerians, Hittites, Hurrites and all those preceding the Assirian kingdom, and Homer and Hesiod in Greece.
Homer, a mythical character to whom we use to give credit for the most ancient version of Iliad and Odyssey and for some hymns to the Gods, lived probably around 750 b.c.e. even though his name probably doesn’t cover one person only. Hesiod lived in 8th-7th century b.c.e. In both cases, we deal with a historical period when Greek writing was just beginning to spread and take the place of the oral tradition.
Both Hesiod and Homer lived in the periodi of the passage from the oral poetical tradition of the aoidos, a professional singer, to a written tradition. That is, from the emotional emphasis by which the aoidos made his audience involved in the tale, to written word that needs rational images, described without an emotional foundation: the more people forget the culture of which the writing was expression, the more the words were deprived of their social, emotional, and cultural meaning.
In this context through centuries, several interpretations about the nature of the Gods described by Hesiod and Homer have been passed down to us; these interpretations, originated by the interpreter’s imagination, wanted to define what, in their opinion, Homer and Hesiod meant with their words.
The Stoics and the Epicureans, each in their own manner, interpreted Hesiod’s myth as symbols and personifications of natural powers originated by the ignorance of primitive populations who used to antropomorphize everything. Especially the Stoics used allegories to interpret the Myth. Insulting people calling them “primitives” is typical of authors like Dupuis, Fouchet, Hume, who considered “mythical allegories” as expressions of fear and hope, in the same way a christian trembles in front of his god, master and murderer.
Euhemerus, in 300 b.c.e., told that the Gods of the Myth were just ancient kings, divinized.
According to Muller, the myth is a childish disease of language.
According to Goethe and Schiller, the myth is just poetry and Moritz affirmed that was an absurdity to turn the tales of the Gods into allegories as well as into real stories: all these people believe the god master and creator of the universe described by christianity to be true.
The Myth has been interpreted by social rituality by W.R. Smith, J. G. Frazer, J. E. Harrison, F. M. Cornford, Gilbert Murray, B. Malinowski, Durkheim, and M. Mauss, in some sort of totemism of Christian primitivism.
Nietzsche interpreted the myth under a psychological aspect, united myth and buddhist interpretations; this union degenerated into some sort of repetition of an unavoidable present of which the Ubermensch must become aware in the eternal recurrence of a present moment repeating over and over. Wundt, Jung, and Freud used the Myth to explain their psychological interpretations, until the more recent of this line, Hillman, who affirms the Gods to be the archetipes inside human nature.
According to Hegel, the myth is a selfexplaination of the absolute spirit. Hegel recognized the truth of the myth as the idea of the Myth that everything is living and divine, shaped outside and inside by Homer and Hesiod in the likeness of man.
Schelling, in a certain period of his life, tried to demonstrate that the Myth is always monotheist, even sometimes in a hidden way, since when there are many Gods, one of them is “primus inter pares”. According to Schelling the monotheism during the time of Uranus was resolved by christian revelation.
Causality, substance, reciprocal action are the explanations of the Myth given by Cassirer starting from Kant’s trascendental philosophy. The Myth has an explanation in Kant telling about “forms of intuition” and categories, like the Gods of the Myth, as conditions of possible experience.
Lévi-Strauss constructs a structuralist interpretation of Myth trying to reduce it to mathematical formulas or schemes repeated in narration. The demonstration of this structuralist interpretation is found among “primitive tribes” studied by the anthropologist, having a crocodile or a fish as totems. Basically, Lévi-Strauss insults the Myth comparing it to present existential ideas which changed in times but are mistaken for the primitivism due to the creation of man by his god-owner.
J.G. Herder interprets the myth believing the Veda to be more ancient than they actually are: most of the Veda can be dated at the 4th century b.c.e., when Alexander the Great came to India. The Veda was pretended to be a reflection of human primordial wisdom after the god-owner had created the man.
Bachofen interprets the Myth in a symbolic and romantic key. Bachofen interprets the Greek Myth through the bible, that is supposing that what is written in the bible could be a key to interpret the Greek Myth.
Other interpretation of Myth were made by Kerényi, Walter Otto, Pettazzoni, Evola, Jensen, and Jolles. They all studied the Myth and gave interpretations about its meaning, but none of them expressed his worldview through the Myth. The Muth remained a distinct object from its analyst.
The analyst stays in the place of the god-owner and vivisects the Myth. He affirms the meaning of the Myth: but what does the Myth says about the analyst?
The need to interpret the Myth for those interpreters isn’t due to the need to understand the Myth but to the need to exorcize the Myth so that it won’t call into question the Christian reality the analysts believe to be their own.
The christian interprets the Myth as told by Homer and Hesiod so that to affirm he’s better than Homer and Hesiod; in the same way the Stoics interpreted the religious statements in the Myth as allegories, so to impose their idea of Logos.
These interpretations of Myth are real insults towards Hesiod’s Theogony, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Orphic cosmogonies. These insults began with Plato and the philosophers who, unable to live the Myth, must tell what the Myth is, in order to exorcise it and expel it from the horizon of their existences.
The contrast is between those who live christianity and interpret the Myth and those who live the Myth and interpret Christianity. The Pagan Religion and Polytheistic Pagan people live the Myth and interpret Christianity. Sometimes, since living the Myth represents the crossing of the description of objective reality in which we’re involved as subjects, Polytheistic Pagan people explore the Myth and from it, and only from it, they draw the principles of their religious dimension.
Unlike christians, a Pagan doesn’t believe Hesiod to have been sent by the Gods. Hesiod is probably just a person who took on a Myth, a story, and reproduced it looking for glory in an epic vision of the universe. We Pagans don’t mind about Hesiod as a person: we mind about the story he tells and its religious content.
NOTE: The list of Myth interpreters has been drawn from Kurt Hubner "La Die Wahrheit des Mythos" 1985
Marghera, 21st September 2014
This page in Italian Riflessioni della Religione Pagana sulla Teogonia di Esiodo
Tradução para o Português Reflexões da Religião Pagã sobre a Teogonia de Hesíodo
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30175 Marghera - Venezia
Pagan Religion has founded a worldview of its own, a view of the world, of life and of coming into existence of the consciousnesses since the beginning of time. These ideas coincide, in present times, with the ideas of cults and religions before the advent of philosophy and have been by force of arms fought by the Christian hate against life. Analyzing Hesiod’s work allows us to explain the Pagan Religion’s point of view.