Heroes Of The City Of Man ´ READ AUTHOR Peter J. Leithart – cheapugg.us
CHARACTERS õ CHEAPUGG.US ↠ Peter J. LeithartErything is political while everyone dreams of a world free from politics is rooted in a paradox of the modern mind On the one hand modern man believes that making everything political is the highest form of manifestation of his dominion Politicization is a conseuence of his belief that everything that happens depends on his decision and that only his decision assigns meaning and value to things It was assumed that man s growing power over life society knowledge morality and everything else would be concordant with the increasing presence of politics politics meant instruments to make use of this powerDo classicists Christians included when approaching the classics fall under the suasion of the libido dominandi interpreting Roman writings and their Greek forebears in the Roman imperial self imaging terms Agamemnon s original choice0 between the public duty of attacking Troy and the private duty of protecting Iphigeneia is one variation of this conflict To fulfill his civic duty Agamemnon transgresses his household duty pg 286Her sacrifice was regarded as for the sake of civic dutyStrikingly the Bible is savage and primitive than Aeschylus for the Bible is insistent on the necessity of vengeance For the Bible blood will have blood is true without ualification Mercy is not offered by setting aside this principle by changing the rules Instead mercy is offered on the basis of a once for all final shedding of blood that will when all is said and done bring an end to every cycle of blood vengeance pgs 302 303 Reasons for Christians to read the literature of nonbelievers includeby wrestling to evaluate these books biblically we are led to discover biblical truth that we might otherwise have overlooked Pagan literature can rightly used give us an important entry into the mind and culture of fallen humanity and even sharpen our understanding of the Christian worldview pg 22the Bible teaches that God reveals His character in creation in history and in Scripture If we wish to know God we have to seek Him as He has revealed Himself through these media We cannot know God by peeking behind the screen of history and Scripture we come to know Him through His words and works History Scripture and creation are the books of God and if we would know Him we must open the books There is a fuller revelation in one or another of God s books Ibid pg 34 UESTION Should Christian young people be exposed to classical works depicting other religious worldviews If they are not how will they be prepared with a ready answer and be well educated of culturally important worksANSWER Peter LeithartLeithart enters the debate with an excellent resource for the education of Christian young people He takes important classical works and examines them by practically contrasting them against the Biblical worldview I use the word important as a term meaning that the philosophies in these works dramatically impacted worldview shifts in the course of history By contrasting these thoughts to the Biblical truths Leithart assists in preparing young adults to give a defense for the hope that is within themLeithart also brings excellent literary information as well He examines literary devices and references other well known works as part of the study In terms of introductions and outlines to the various classical texts this book is a resounding success I have used it in my own classroom His various chiastic outlines are worth the entire reading of the bookThesis the ancient polis was one of ontological violence There could never really be peace on Earth Since There Was War there was heaven The Greek worldview was not one of stasis pace descriptions of Plato It was both stasis and frenzied violence The latter was ust as necessary The problem was that this make violence necessary to the ideal worldIf Hesiod is correct then warfare and violence is part of the natural order Leithart 20 What governs man petty gods an autocratic god or blind Fate Ancient EpicDactylic hexameter L long S shortL S S L S S L S S L S S L S S L S SHomer though ends each line with two long syllables a spondeeHesiodA The Hundred Handers allies of Zeus B The Titans and their prison C The roots of earth and sea C The sources of earth sea sky Tartarus B The Titans and their prisonA The Hundred HandersHomer IliadThe point of life is the heroic ideal The tragedy is that Hector and Achilles can avoid disastrous conseuences only by renouncing heroism entirely Neither is willing to do that 89 Leithart suggests a useful practice would be to contrast Hebrews 11 with the heroes in the Iliad The following chiasms structure the bookA Trojan priest demands his daughter be returned Book 1 B The armies gather for battle Book 2 C Duel Paris and Menelaus Book 3 C Duel Hector and Achilles Book 22 B Greek Armies engage in funeral games Book 23A Trojan king Priam asks Achilles to return his son s body Book 24A Book 1 B Books Trojan king Priam asks Achilles to return his son s body Book 24A Book 1 B Books 7 3 days one of fighting one of burial one for building wall C Book 8 one day of fighting D Book 9 Embassy to Achilles C Books 11 18 one day of fighting B books 19 23 3 days one day of Achilles one of burial one for funeralA Book 24For the Greeks virtue is timeless and motionless Stay in your place forever The Christian view is obedience to God grow from glory to glory 103The two themes warring in this epic are furor and pietas Aeneas s destiny is not simply to found Rome but to suppress furor by embracing pietas Understanding furor rage and passion shades of Achilles provides a motif for several scenes Carthage is dedicated to Juno Aeneas s enemy who is smarting over Paris wound Carthage s ueen Dido ends her life in an enraged suicide Juno and Carthage are the embodiment of furorPeter Leithart 1999 226 suggests the following outlineA Book 1 Juno Storm Calm B Book 2 Defeat of Trojans C Book 3 Wandering of Aeneas D Book 4 Tragedy of Dido E Book 5 Funeral Games F Book 6 Journey to the UnderworldA Book 7 Peace Juno war F Book 8 Aeneas and Evander E Book 9 Night Raid of Nisus and Euryalus D Book 10 Death of Pallas C Book 11 War with Latins B Book 12 Victory of TrojansA Juno s Reconciliation Aeneas descent into the underworld is not only important for the narrative but is typological for much of later Western literature It is reading too much into it to see it as a death resurrection though the pattern is certainly there In any case Aeneas emerges a changed man He is able to leave Troy behind and furor by focusing on his destiny pietas. Ontemporary reader would most benefit from reading Leland Ryken Wheaton CollegeAnyone can read this volume and expect to gain a heightened awareness of the importance of Christian thinking to all of life and the great void that exists in societies that are not undergirded by such thinking Byron Snapp Calvary Herald. As the Oresteia Bacchae and Clouds he discovers a world in which the gods are capricious where Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance justice is a matter of expedience revenge austifiable end and education and philosophy empty self serving pursuits It may seem from what I say that Mr Leithart has nothing good to say about the ancient classics but that is not completely accurate His analyses are thoughtful and respectful and he gives credit where credit is due It is not that he finds nothing noble or admirable in the ancient classics But as with the contrast between Hector and Christ all of the nobility and beauty of the ancients pales in comparison with the great true myth of Christianity As rewarding and fulfilling as it may be to read the ancient classics perhaps the best they can ultimately do is stand as a negative example of the best that man can accomplish apart from the one true GodHaving said that I cannot give Heroes my wholehearted recommendation Too often Leithart appears to give the beauty of these great works short shrift He writes as though he is suspicious of their aesthetic merits as if someone might be seduced by their beauty and tempted to abandon Jerusalem for Athens This view may not be completely baseless but if someone were to make such a ump I would be suspicious of their commitment to Jerusalem to begin with rather than the persuasiveness of the literature It is for this reason that I can only award Heroes of the City of Man three stars As a guide for Christians who are unfamiliar with the classics it is not without merit but you would be better served by simply reading the classics for yourself This is one of three books Peter Leithart has written on the classics This one is on ancient literature the other two are on Dante and Shakespeare respectively All are well worth reading to shed light not ust on the background of the particular work he s analyzing but to put that piece in a broader context of a Christian worldview Whereas Dante and to a little lesser extent Shakespeare have Christianity embedded into them it s not overt in Shakespeare ancient literature lacks this scope That s why I found this one in particular the most interesting He tells us that as Christians we need not be afraid to read literature ust because it s pagan in origin If read well it can be enlightening To uote If we cannot help but manifest God s characterin our creations and if the character of God manifested in our creations is known through a story it follows that we cannot help but tell his stories in our ownThis does not mean that every writer is self consciously and deliberately writing Christian allegory It means that every writer tells stories that reflect in some way God s story Just like the painter who when he paints something beautiful although unconsciously he is reflecting God s beauty All three of Leithart s books are recommended Leithart s companion guides are condensed insightful and robust without being redundant or didactic I probably like this one a bit than his Shakespeare one ust because the classics are so often ignored or condemned by Christians and his viewpoint approach is marvelously refreshing He mixes in some good criticism that helps readers digest the poetry with discernment while exalting and helping the reader to scope out all the truth and beauty to be found in Homer and beyond Definitely a worthy possession for any in depth study of the classics and a good introduction to some of the
DEEPER ANALYSIS OUT THERE I JOINEDanalysis out there I oined Pillar reading group this year in part because one of their selections was this book by Leithart I have read many of his books by now and find him a reliable teacher This book is an insightful walk through some of the crucial classics of modernity including the Hesiod s Theogony Homer s The Iliad and The Odyssey and Virgil s The Aeneid as well as a section on Greek drama I had read all of the works covered in this before but this was a chance for a deeper dive with a teacher I respect Gordon Wenham has shown that the entire flood narrative in Genesis 6 9 is arranged concentrically with Genesis 81 And Yahweh remembered Noah at the center Up to that verse the waters are rising everything is being covered and all living things are dying after that verse the waters begin to recede the mountains begin to appear and new life begins to arise in a new creation pg 48 49Even an unbeliever should be able to see an intricacy in the Genesis flood story In addition to the above there is also Enoch s prophecy of the flood by naming his son Methuselah After me it comes with the dates in the genealogy by naming his son Methuselah After me it comes with the dates in the genealogy so that is can be pieced out that Methuselah died the year of the flood Homer s sympathies are evenly divided between Greek and Trojans there is no hint that the Trojan War is a struggle od civilized Greece against barbarian Troy For Virgil however the universe revolves around Rome pg 261According to Aeneas s father the vocation of Rome is to beat down the proud and establish the peace of good order pg 260Here is Virgil on the Roman vocationOthers will cast tenderly in bronzeTheir breaching figures I can well believe And bring lifelike portraits out of marble Argue elouently use the pointerTo trace the paths of heaven accuratelyAnd accurately foretell the rising stars Roman remember by your strength to ruleEarth s peoples for your arts are to be these To pacify to impose the rule of law To spare the conuered battle down the proud The Aeneid 6 1145 1154Yet According to St Augustine s account in his City of God Rome rose to dominance out of lust for dominion their sinful desire for supremacyIn Augustine s viewIn Augustus Aeneas and Augustus far from putting down the proud were themselves Augustine s viewIn Augustus Aeneas and Augustus far from putting down the proud were themselves the proud far from triumphing over madness they themselves were mad pg 270Mankind s fallen nature is often a web of contradictions and deceits Another example of the paradoxical or hypocritical on a civilizational stage is the following drawing on Ryszard Legutko s The Demon in Democracy Both communism and liberal democracy exhibited a paradoxical approach to politics in which they promised to reduce the role of politics in human life yet induced politicization on a scale unknown in previous history What explains the egregious spectacle of liberal democracy and communism politicizing modern society while at the same time proclaiming loudly that they are pushing humanity to a politics free world The paradoxical concept of socialist politics where ev. Ight For high school students and upThe most obvious virtue of Leithart's book is its scope In a single volume he provides a defense for the value of reading classical literature a methodology for integrating that literature with the Christian faith and a reader's guide to the works of classical literature that a An excellent guide to select ancient literature The author addresses the problem of the meaning that rests behind the intent of the authors of such literature In this book the author insists on gaining the insight into the subject he addresses simply because without it one is left flouting and detached from understanding in general in this matter On the other hand the moment the reader starts gaining the insight into the problematic of this kind of fundamental literature everything falls into its proper place and the point of view becomes incomparably clearFrank Dragash I read this in conjunction with reading ancient literature for the first time I found it pretty informative in helpful in understanding the world views of the authors characters and understanding some of the themes I would have floundered through the ancient literature much without this helping me see the themes better I definitely recommend this as a companion to reading the Iliad the Odyssey and the Aeneid Pretty good set of short commentaries on a variety of RomanGreek mostly Greek with the Aeneid thrown in for good measure Epics and plays Leithart provides some astute literary analysis with a bunch of helpful structural insights 3 chiasms throughout this book I disagreed with him on several aspects regarding Homer s aspects and felt like his Christianity Pagan Greek bias one I do share myself hindered his ability to recognize some of the profound insights in those books However his section on Greek dramas was excellent along with most all of his other insightsIn the introduction Leithart seems to take an overly negative take on the value of Greek literature with a I suppose it might be helpful for Christians but it s really not anything special sort of mindset that surprised me I would posit higher values to these works However this negative outlook surprisingly didn t pervade much of his analyses of these books In addition the Christian aspect of his analysis seemed to be surprising paltry limited to a page or so at the end of each section Most of the book was ust literary criticism with slight Christian leanings I didn t mind that but I did feel like the introduction was in tension with the rest of the bookOverall though this was a uite helpful book to read and it even persuaded me that there is value and going on in Aristophanes The Clouds than I had previous seen in it So I may have to reread that with Leithart s insights in mind at some point Recommended to other students and teachers of classical antiuity and its literatureRating 35 4 Stars Good This book was extremely helpful to me in understanding The Iliad The Odyssey The Aeneid and several of the Greek dramas in a Christian light Now I can better decide if I really want to read the actual texts or not as in the case of some I would then read this book again alongside as a guide It defined many important Greek and Latin terms and had study uestions at the end of each section Heroes from the City of Man by Peter Leithart I have long disliked the contemporary habit of trying to force post modern sensibilities on any literature that pre dates the advent of Derrida The practice of reading the classics from a Marxistfeministueer perspective to milk from them some evidence of white European male repression of everyone and everything is abominable and the accompanying theories garbage I feel almost defiled anytime I come in
With Them Reading Peter Leithart Therefore Is A Refreshing Eventhem Reading Peter Leithart therefore is a refreshing even experience Leithart a professor of English at New St Andrews College has written a number of books analyzing the works of different authors He is unapologetically Christian but he does not try to force a Christian reading on the literary works he analyzes Like CS Lewis in his Experiment in Criticism Leithart sets aside his prejudices to enter into the world of the author to see what the author is trying to say He analyzes the evidence first arriving at conclusions only after a thorough and careful reading In Heroes of the City of Man Leithart turns his attention to the poetry and drama of the ancient Greeks and Romans The model for his analysis is derived from Augustine in that he posits two cities Jerusalem and Athens THE CITIES OF GOD AND MAN HE WRITES AS cities of God and Man He writes as citizen firmly established in Jerusalem and views the literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans as products of Athens He has no desire or intention to build a bridge between the two and is content to observe Athens from a distance From this vantage point he examines the theology and morals of the Greeks and Romans evaluating their strengths and weaknesses contrasting them overall with Christianity He discovers some parallels but the differences are far numerous and strikingHe begins with the Theogeny and Works and Days by Hesiod which form a creation narrative and body of wisdom literature that parallel Genesis and the book of Proverbs In the Theogony Hesiod recounts the creation of the universe and the first tales of Greek mythology by tracing the lineage of the gods from their beginning It is a tumultuous tale filled with every kind of violence and perversion The Greek gods are a capricious bloodthirsty and licentious group murderous adulterous and incestuous Any system of morals or ethics derived from these myths could only be expected to follow suit This is born out in Works and Days which at its best could only be called the anti beatitudes Though both Genesis and Theogeny account for the creation of the world Leithart demonstrates that the two could not be different in their meaningAfter Hesiod Leithart examines the Trojan trilogy comprised of the Iliad Odyssey and Aeneid Greek and Roman heroism is the dominant theme running through these works but their understanding of heroism is not what we might imagine An ancient Greek hero placed his reputation as a hero as the highest good It was to be pursued at the cost of all else Even Hector possibly the most noble of the heroes in these books prizes his valor above the security of Troy In the scope of the Iliad it is his duel with Achilles than any other factor that seals the fate of his home even as it secures his status as a hero Contrasted against the acts of Christ whose death on the cross forever secured the safety of His beloved such heroism becomes empty and meaninglessFrom poetry Leithart moves to the drama of the Greeks beginning with that most famous of Greek tragedies the Oedipus cycle In this as well. Leithart analyzes the grand classics of ancient literature The Iliad The Odyssey The Aeneid and others commenting on each and contrasting their pagan worldview to the biblical worldview If you fall asleep in your English classes this book is like drinking ten cups of coffee Maybe eleven depending upon your body we.
Peter J. Leithart