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How Philosophers Saved MythsAllegorical Interpretation and Classical Mythology$
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Luc Brisson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226075358

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226075389.001.0001

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Plato's Attitude toward Myth

Plato's Attitude toward Myth

(p.15) Two Plato's Attitude toward Myth
How Philosophers Saved Myths
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the meaning of muthos, which became fixed for all by Plato in ancient Greece, where the meaning of muthos changed as a function of the transformations that affected the vocabulary of “saying” and of “speech” during the course of historical evolution. In terms of ethnology, myth is a message from one generation to the next where a collectivity is conveyed what it keeps in memory of what it considers its past. The reception of a myth cannot be separated from its emission and thus it's making in an oral civilization. According to Plato, even though myth is an unverifiable discourse and lacks an argumentative character, it is all the more effective in that it transmits a basic knowledge shared by all the members of a given community, which makes it a formidable instrument with universal impact.

Keywords:   muthos, Plato, saying, speech, myth, reception of myth

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