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Psychê : själens antropologi i det antika Grekland

Törngren, Anna LU (2008) In Lund Studies in History of Religons 24.
Abstract
The subject of the thesis is the psychê, a Greek word whose closest equivalent is the Swedish “själ”, the English “soul”, the French “âme” and the German “Seele”. The meanings of these words are far from being the same. What is more, the Greek psychê has shifting meanings, both synchronically and diachronically speaking. We are faced with two problems: What does the word psychê designate and how is it possible that it has so different meanings?

I give examples of the psychê’s changing spectrum of meanings found in the Homeric epos, which demonstrate the psychê’s mythical nature. I even venture to say that the psychê is a myth itself, but not in the modern use of the word "myth”, nor in an every-day or in a traditional religious or... (More)
The subject of the thesis is the psychê, a Greek word whose closest equivalent is the Swedish “själ”, the English “soul”, the French “âme” and the German “Seele”. The meanings of these words are far from being the same. What is more, the Greek psychê has shifting meanings, both synchronically and diachronically speaking. We are faced with two problems: What does the word psychê designate and how is it possible that it has so different meanings?

I give examples of the psychê’s changing spectrum of meanings found in the Homeric epos, which demonstrate the psychê’s mythical nature. I even venture to say that the psychê is a myth itself, but not in the modern use of the word "myth”, nor in an every-day or in a traditional religious or historical sense. According to this point of view, "myth" is not the same thing as a story, but we can say that it forms "a kind of a language", in which the myth is a core generating stories, rituals and images. The myth is included in a network of connections that are often mutually contradicting one another, but that are held together by an intrinsic power, which gives the myth its own life and creates new contexts.

In order to clarify the contexts, in which the psychê appears, I compare my work to the work of an experience anthropologist. We have to start from the text to go to the concrete circumstances of life and be prepared to go beyond our ingrained framework and expectations in order to bring to life the Homeric world and accept its human conditions as normal.

I insinuate a possible way of psychê’s transformation from the mythical psychê that for Homer is the life we lose when we die and become a powerless image in Hades’ oblivion, to the psychê which for Plato is the man's true self and his immortal soul.

In this comprehensive and revolutionary development, as far as the psychê is concerned, I am searching for a connection between the past’s mythical possibilities and the way of thinking that the new social and political circumstances allow for and need. It is important to see the correct foundations in man’s life even for airy-fairy phenomenona such as the revelations of the dead, the human intelligence and the man's inner self or the soul (psyche). (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • univ. lektor Podemann Sörensen, Jörgen, Köpenhamns universitet
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
kleos, psychê, history of greek writing, philossophy, oral tradition, immortality, myth, death, Homer, Plato
in
Lund Studies in History of Religons
volume
24
pages
285 pages
publisher
CTR
defense location
sal 118, CTR
defense date
2008-09-26 10:15
ISSN
1103-4882
ISBN
978-91-977212-4-0
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
4bb51825-88a9-478d-86db-c4af6e9037c1 (old id 1232775)
date added to LUP
2008-09-30 11:16:29
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:50
@phdthesis{4bb51825-88a9-478d-86db-c4af6e9037c1,
  abstract     = {The subject of the thesis is the psychê, a Greek word whose closest equivalent is the Swedish “själ”, the English “soul”, the French “âme” and the German “Seele”. The meanings of these words are far from being the same. What is more, the Greek psychê has shifting meanings, both synchronically and diachronically speaking. We are faced with two problems: What does the word psychê designate and how is it possible that it has so different meanings?<br/><br>
I give examples of the psychê’s changing spectrum of meanings found in the Homeric epos, which demonstrate the psychê’s mythical nature. I even venture to say that the psychê is a myth itself, but not in the modern use of the word "myth”, nor in an every-day or in a traditional religious or historical sense. According to this point of view, "myth" is not the same thing as a story, but we can say that it forms "a kind of a language", in which the myth is a core generating stories, rituals and images. The myth is included in a network of connections that are often mutually contradicting one another, but that are held together by an intrinsic power, which gives the myth its own life and creates new contexts. <br/><br>
In order to clarify the contexts, in which the psychê appears, I compare my work to the work of an experience anthropologist. We have to start from the text to go to the concrete circumstances of life and be prepared to go beyond our ingrained framework and expectations in order to bring to life the Homeric world and accept its human conditions as normal.<br/><br>
I insinuate a possible way of psychê’s transformation from the mythical psychê that for Homer is the life we lose when we die and become a powerless image in Hades’ oblivion, to the psychê which for Plato is the man's true self and his immortal soul.<br/><br>
In this comprehensive and revolutionary development, as far as the psychê is concerned, I am searching for a connection between the past’s mythical possibilities and the way of thinking that the new social and political circumstances allow for and need. It is important to see the correct foundations in man’s life even for airy-fairy phenomenona such as the revelations of the dead, the human intelligence and the man's inner self or the soul (psyche).},
  author       = {Törngren, Anna},
  isbn         = {978-91-977212-4-0},
  issn         = {1103-4882},
  keyword      = {kleos,psychê,history of greek writing,philossophy,oral tradition,immortality,myth,death,Homer,Plato},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {285},
  publisher    = {CTR},
  series       = {Lund Studies in History of Religons},
  title        = {Psychê : själens antropologi i det antika Grekland},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2008},
}