Aristotle and the Beginnings of Allegorical Exegesis

in How Philosophers Saved Myths

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780226075358
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226075389 | DOI:
Aristotle and the Beginnings of Allegorical Exegesis

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This chapter focuses on the restrained analysis of tragedy and adoption of a conciliatory attitude toward allegory by Aristotle, who gave an explanation about the close relation established between myth and philosophy. Myth is an alarming instrument of consensus because it draws on the particularly powerful and universal feelings of fear and pity as all human beings without exception are sensitive to fear and pity. Aristotle was interested in allegory and even practiced it by paralleling his interest in tragedy. He did not adopt an attitude of radical rupture with myth compared to the the attitude of Plato. Aristotle wanted to take popular traditions into account by dissociating the instruction they carried from the narrative in which this instruction was expressed, and this attitude led him to justify allegory and to practice it.

Keywords: tragedy; attitude; allegory; Aristotle; Plato; myth; practice; fear; pity

Chapter.  5080 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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