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The Status of Mythology in Sixteenth Century Lutheran Collections of Aesopic Fables

Zillén, Erik LU (2012) Allusions and Reflections. Greek and Roman Mythology in Renaissance Europe
Abstract
In the ancient corpus of Aesopic fables gods and semi-gods from Greek and Roman mythology often appear. Most commonly Zeus is called upon by fable characters such as the donkey, the snake, and the turtle, all of them pleading for a better destiny. Frequent main characters, rather often promoting their own interests in the fable fictions, are also Hera, Herakles, Apollo, and Hermes. The high esteem in which Martin Luther held the Aesopic genre’s capacity for religious and moral edification directly encouraged the publication of three collections of Aesopic fables in German during the Reformation epoch: Etliche fabel Esopi verteutscht (1534) by Erasmus Alberus, Esopus/ Gantz New gemacht (1548) by Burkard Waldis, and Hundert Fabeln aus Esopo... (More)
In the ancient corpus of Aesopic fables gods and semi-gods from Greek and Roman mythology often appear. Most commonly Zeus is called upon by fable characters such as the donkey, the snake, and the turtle, all of them pleading for a better destiny. Frequent main characters, rather often promoting their own interests in the fable fictions, are also Hera, Herakles, Apollo, and Hermes. The high esteem in which Martin Luther held the Aesopic genre’s capacity for religious and moral edification directly encouraged the publication of three collections of Aesopic fables in German during the Reformation epoch: Etliche fabel Esopi verteutscht (1534) by Erasmus Alberus, Esopus/ Gantz New gemacht (1548) by Burkard Waldis, and Hundert Fabeln aus Esopo (1571) by Nathan Chytraeus. In compliance with their actively confessional ambition, one might assume that these vernacular volumes of Aesopic fables consequently eliminated all elements of Heathen mythology. This is, however, only partially true. In these overtly Lutheranized fable collections, classical mythology was marginalized and yet simultaneously preserved. The present paper investigates the different strategies – theological, ethical, figurative, narrative et cetera – according to which this paradoxical, yet hierarchical coexistence of Christianity and mythology was made both possible and plausible. (Less)
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organization
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type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Greek and Roman mythology, Aesopic fable, German literature, Christian monoteism, Renaissance, Reformation culture, confessionalization, Lutheranization
conference name
Allusions and Reflections. Greek and Roman Mythology in Renaissance Europe
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
83a312a5-e592-46ec-a25d-f1085227b408 (old id 3242459)
date added to LUP
2012-12-17 11:44:22
date last changed
2016-06-10 08:37:17
@misc{83a312a5-e592-46ec-a25d-f1085227b408,
  abstract     = {In the ancient corpus of Aesopic fables gods and semi-gods from Greek and Roman mythology often appear. Most commonly Zeus is called upon by fable characters such as the donkey, the snake, and the turtle, all of them pleading for a better destiny. Frequent main characters, rather often promoting their own interests in the fable fictions, are also Hera, Herakles, Apollo, and Hermes. The high esteem in which Martin Luther held the Aesopic genre’s capacity for religious and moral edification directly encouraged the publication of three collections of Aesopic fables in German during the Reformation epoch: Etliche fabel Esopi verteutscht (1534) by Erasmus Alberus, Esopus/ Gantz New gemacht (1548) by Burkard Waldis, and Hundert Fabeln aus Esopo (1571) by Nathan Chytraeus. In compliance with their actively confessional ambition, one might assume that these vernacular volumes of Aesopic fables consequently eliminated all elements of Heathen mythology. This is, however, only partially true. In these overtly Lutheranized fable collections, classical mythology was marginalized and yet simultaneously preserved. The present paper investigates the different strategies – theological, ethical, figurative, narrative et cetera – according to which this paradoxical, yet hierarchical coexistence of Christianity and mythology was made both possible and plausible.},
  author       = {Zillén, Erik},
  keyword      = {Greek and Roman mythology,Aesopic fable,German literature,Christian monoteism,Renaissance,Reformation culture,confessionalization,Lutheranization},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {The Status of Mythology in Sixteenth Century Lutheran Collections of Aesopic Fables},
  year         = {2012},
}