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Theories of Myth

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

19 March 1981
Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual 
by Walter Burkert.
California, 226 pp., £9, April 1980, 0 520 03771 5
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Myth and Society in Ancient Greece 
by Jean-Pierre Vernant, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Harvester, 242 pp., £24, February 1980, 9780391009158
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... scholars now active in the field of Greek mythology and religion. Jean-Pierre Vernant is a Professor in the Collège de France; his book is a collection of essays published over a long period. WalterBurkert is a Professor at Zurich, and the author of a remarkable history of Greek religion in the Archaic and Classical periods, soon to appear in English. The only one of Vernant’s essays which ...

The Gods of Greece

Jonathan Barnes

4 July 1985
Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical 
by Walter Burkert, translated by John Raffan.
Blackwell, 493 pp., £29.50, April 1985, 0 631 11241 3
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... also the findings of modern fieldworkers have been adduced in the effort to understand the phenomena. The practices of Papua illuminate the glories of Greece. The leading Continental scholar here is WalterBurkert. His Greek Religion, first issued in German some eight years ago, already has the standing of a classic, and the publication of an English version, which incorporates new material and is in ...

Mythology in Bits

Tim Whitmarsh: Ancient Greek ‘Religion’

20 December 2018
The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion 
edited by Esther Eidinow and Julia Kindt.
Oxford, 736 pp., £30, December 2017, 978 0 19 881017 9
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... the occupants of an interstitial position, and objects of intrigued speculation. The second is Fred Naiden’s chapter on animal sacrifice. The dominant explanations in the 20th century were those of WalterBurkert, on the one hand, and Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne, on the other. Burkert explained sacrifice in terms of collective psychology and human evolution, seeing the ritual as a relic of ...

Not Not To Be

Malcolm Schofield: Aristotle’s legacy

17 February 2005
A New History of Western Philosophy. Vol. I: Ancient Philosophy 
by Anthony Kenny.
Oxford, 341 pp., £17.99, June 2005, 0 19 875273 3
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... of premodern philosophers, the sharper the whiff of authenticity they get. This book (like much present-day commentary on ancient philosophy) is not for them. Others now writing – Geoffrey Lloyd, WalterBurkert, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Josiah Ober, Andrea Nightingale come to mind – do much more in very different ways to respond to the cultural density and complexity of ancient Greek thought, and to ...

Zeus Be Nice Now

James Davidson: Ancient Cults

19 July 2007
Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum 
Getty, 3014 pp., $1,215, March 2007, 978 0 89236 787 0Show More
Polytheism and Society at Athens 
by Robert Parker.
Oxford, 544 pp., £27.50, March 2007, 978 0 19 921611 6
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... leap to conclusions. The study of Greek religion that flourished so unexpectedly after the Second World War was long dominated by the Paris school of Vernant, Vidal-Naquet and Detienne, and then by WalterBurkert of Zürich, a school in his own right. In each case, immense learning was combined with an intent to see patterns and make sense of them. In the former case the method used was structuralism ...

Other Lives

M.F. Burnyeat: The Truth about Pythagoras

22 February 2007
Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching and Influence 
by Christoph Riedweg, translated by Steven Rendall.
Cornell, 216 pp., £9.95, May 2005, 0 8014 4240 0
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Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans: A Brief History 
by Charles Kahn.
Hackett, 193 pp., £10.95, October 2001, 0 87220 575 4
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... properly footnoted sources, of a millennia-long tradition about Pythagoras and mathematics. What happened between Russell and Penrose was the publication in 1962 of a very great work of scholarship, WalterBurkert’s Weisheit und Wissenschaft: Studien zu Pythagoras, Philolaus und Platon (revised version translated into English as Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism, 1972). The effect of Burkert ...

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