Proof & Possibility 2008-2009; Part 1: The Incursion of Divine Presence: Fate and Its Implications in Homer’s Odyssey and Greco-Roman Religion

Posted by James Revillini - December 1, 2008 - - No Comments

The Tunxis Humanities Department, along with Seekers & Sophists, the Tunxis Philosophy Club, Present:

Proof & Possibility 2008-2009

A Series of Talks in Philosophy and the History of Ideas 
Monday, December 1st, 7p.m.
Rooms 6-127 and 6-128 (Adjacent to the Cybercafé)

Part 1: 
The Incursion of Divine Presence: Fate and Its Implications in Homer’s Odyssey and Greco-Roman Religion
A Reading and Lecture 
*Charles Stein*

Homer’s signature treatment of the subject of fate in his Odyssey—sometimes a process taking place by the agency of the Olympian gods and other times something to which the gods themselves are beholden—is a fruitful point of departure for a broad range of studies in the philosophy of religion.  Reading key passages from his own new translation of the Odyssey, Stein will then describe how this dimension of the poem sets the stage for the eventual focus on liberation from fate in Hellenistic and Greco-Roman religious settings. Texts and practices as diverse as the Chaldean oracles, Hellenistic astrology, Gnosticism and early Christianity are important landmarks in this development.

What we could call the "theology of fate and ontology of narrative" strikes at the center of questions regarding what it means for any of us to be alive and participants in a greater story than we can imagine.

Opening Presentation: Homer, Hierophany, Hypertext 
Jesse Abbot

The frequent appearance of gods in the Homeric poems has been reduced to simple entertainment, fancy.  .  .even psychotic hallucination. But what if the cadences and other effects of poetic structure served as a kind of hypertext that ushered in valid Olympian epiphanies? This meditation in the poetics of the philosophy of religion reexamines our assumptions about truth claims in religion in light of the dual function of poetry to distract and focus the mind.

An accomplished poet and independent scholar, Dr. Stein has authored eleven books of poetry and his major new verse translation of Odyssey, published just weeks ago, is already gaining recognition in academic and literary circles.  A former student of ancient Greek at Columbia University, he received a doctorate in literature from The University of Connecticut.   

An assistant professor of English and Philosophy at Tunxis where he currently teaches Composition, Creative Writing, Introduction to Philosophy and Logic, Jesse Abbot holds an M.F.A from Brown University.  His writings have appeared in Parabola, Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions, and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

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