The Polytheistic Model

Tobias Gregory

in From Many Gods to One

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226307558
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226307565 | DOI:
The Polytheistic Model

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter presents an overview of the polytheistic divine action of Homer and Virgil. It specifically discusses the characteristics of the Olympian community as represented in the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid. It explores the role of the gods in the generation, extension, and resolution of epic plot; and the complex question of divine justice. The consensus of the Olympian community is counterbalanced by individual gods' freedom of action. It is noted that jealousies, rivalries, and conflicting interests among gods and factions of gods result in disharmony in heaven. The Odyssey has a simpler and more positive view of divine justice. Mortal characters express a range of views on the gods' propensity to do justice. The problem of evil is also a theological problem.

Keywords: divine action; Homer; Virgil; Iliad; Odyssey; Aeneid; divine justice; Olympian community

Chapter.  10327 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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