Dionysus: Myth and Cult
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Dionysus: Myth and Cult

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  4 reviews
"This study of Dionysus... is also a new theogony of Early Greece." --Publishers Weekly

"An original analysis... of the spiritual significance of the Greek myth and cult of Dionysus." --Theology Digest
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Indiana University Press (first published 1981)
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Excellent introduction to Dionysus and the complexities of his cultus. If you've already read Euripides' "Bacchae," some of Otto's research and findings will be familiar to you, albeit much more contextualized and grounded in academia. If not, than read Euripides afterwards for an excellent tragedy that perfectly encapsulates the full range of the Dionysian. It's quite a treat for 21st century readers of the play to be able to study the complex and interesting background of a greek god and then...more
Well, you see.... puthhhhhhhhhhh, grecian mythology has always been my cup of tea. In fact I had a good friend named Gretchen who I was rather fond of, and Gretchen and grecian are reather close in sound, but thats beside the rather obvious stupendously stupid point. This book is clearly only read by people who were once smart people, and may perhaps retain some of their previous knowledge, but are now currently alcoholics.
As such:
click here for enlightenment on why I see things the way I do ....more
Oct 27, 2008 Nathan marked it as to-read
So far (a few chapters in), it seems very dense, difficult to read, and academic -- though it does contain interesting concepts, I get the feeling that I would benefit from those concepts infinitely more if I had the context of an elaborate and extensive Greek History education to connect it with. Shibboleths and topically-specific terminology are used extensively. I'll keep plugging through and see how it goes.
Bruce Morton
Walter Otto's study has weathered well. It remains more than forty years later a certain place to start in understanding the ancient Dionysus Cult. Important reading for someone wanting to better grasp what early Christians faced in Roman Asia.
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Deutscher Altphilologe, der besonders für seine Arbeiten über Bedeutung und Nachwirkung der griechischen Religion und Mythologie bekannt ist, vor allem durch das Standardwerk Die Götter Griechenlands (zuerst 1929).
More about Walter Friedrich Otto...
The Homeric Gods: Spiritual Significance of Greek Religion Les dieux de la Grèce Teofania: El espiritu de la antigua religion griega Il poeta e gli antichi dei Ελληνικά μυστήρια

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“He who begets something which is alive must dive down into the primeval depths in which the forces of life dwell. And when he rises to the surface, there is a gleam of madness in his eyes because in those depths lives cheek by jowl with life. The primal mystery is itself mad - the matrix of the duality and the unity of disunity.” 0 likes
“Man's experience tells him that wherever there are signs of life, death in in the offing. The more alive this life becomes, the nearer death draws, until the supreme moment - the enchanted moment when something new is created - when death and life meet in an embrace of mad ecstasy. The rapture and terror of life are so profound because they are intoxicated with death. As often as life engenders itself anew, the wall which separates it from death is momentarily destroyed. Death comes to the old and the sick from the outside, bringing fear or comfort. They think of it because they feel that life is waning. But for the young the intimidation of death rises up out of the full maturity of each individual life and intoxicates them so that their ecstasy becomes infinite. Life which has become sterile totters to meet its end, but love and death have welcomed and clung to one another passionately from the beginning.” 0 likes
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