Chapter five lecture one
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Chapter Five, Lecture One. Myths of Creation: The Origins of Mortals. What about human beings?. Why is our world the way it is? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Why are we unique? Why do we suffer?. Prometheus: Maker of Mortals. Not in Hesiod, who gives no account of our origins

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Chapter Five, Lecture One

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Chapter five lecture one

Chapter Five, Lecture One

Myths of Creation: The Origins of Mortals


What about human beings

What about human beings?

  • Why is our world the way it is?

  • Where did we come from?

  • Why are we here?

  • Why are we unique?

  • Why do we suffer?


Prometheus maker of mortals

Prometheus: Maker of Mortals

  • Not in Hesiod, who gives no account of our origins

  • A curious omission. Why?

  • Prometheus (“forethought”), the son of Iapetus and Themis, the Titans

  • Made man from dust and water


The sumerian creation of man from mud

The Sumerian Creation of Man from Mud

  • Marduk made man from the blood of Kingu (as a race of servants)

  • Another variant: man is made by Enki and Ki as servants

  • Then they made deformed humans in a drunken contest

  • Hebrew account (II), man is made from dust and breath


Prometheus protector of mortals

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

  • Prometheus is equivalent to Enki (Ea) — the clever creator

  • Folktale character — the trickster

  • Doublet brother is “Epimetheus” (idiot)


Prometheus protector of mortals1

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

  • At Meconê, Prometheus offered sacrifice bundles to Zeus and asked which Zeus preferred.

  • Zeus chose the worse

  • Etiological to explain why Greeks ate the meat and offered the bones and fat

  • Hesiod protects Zeus by offering an explanation how Zeus could be “deceived.”


Prometheus protector of mortals2

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

  • Outraged, he removes fire from the trees

  • Prometheus sneaks some fire in a fennel stock to man

  • Punished by being lashed to a rock — eagles ate his liver by day, which grew back at night


Prometheus protector of mortals3

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

  • A play in a trilogy about Prometheus, the other two of which are lost

    • Aeschylus, The Prometheus Bound

  • Zeus eventually learns to rule with justice

  • Note also that mankind was allowed to evolve by Prometheus : he taught them all the civilized arts


Prometheus protector of mortals4

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

“Before [me], they had eyes that blankly gazed, ears hearing empty sound. Shapes in a dream, they blundered through long years . . .”

  • He gave us understanding, and thereby all the arts

  • Greek view of human evolution


Prometheus protector of mortals5

Prometheus: Protector of Mortals

  • Zeus allows Heracles (Greek spelling) to break the chains

  • Prometheus told him from which female deity the threat to his rule would come : “Son greater than the father.”

  • It’s Thetis, whom he then marries off to a mortal, Peleus: the son will be Achilles


Why do we suffer

Why do we suffer?

  • Two incompatible explanations

  • (1) Zeus is punishing us with Pandora (two stories)

  • (2) built into the mechanism of time: The Ages


Pandora

Pandora

Then the killer of Argus, the guide, the herald of gods, filled her with lies, with swindles, all sorts of thievish behavior, and named the woman Pandora (all gift), since all who dwell on Olympus gave her their gifts—a curse to men who must live by bread.


Pandora1

Pandora

  • Pandora is punishment

  • But there is also suddenly a box of evils that she opens

  • Perhaps it’s just a metaphor and Pandora herself is the jar (see the discussion)

  • All the jars contents released except “hope”

  • Why hope?


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