Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 33 items for

  • Author or Editor: Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides x
  • Search level: All x
Clear All
In: Byzantium, Its Neighbours and Its Cultures
In: Byzantine Culture in Translation

Abstract

This chapter explores the reception of Herakles in early Christianity, highlighting the thorough engagement of early Christian thinkers with all strands of pagan philosophical and literary traditions.

By the fourth century BCE, Herakles with his attributes of determination and endurance in the face of adversity had become an ideal for moralists and philosophers. The famous Choice of Herakles by Prodicus paved the way for the comparison of Herakles with Christ which was further anticipated by his investment with Roman Stoic values. Herakles loomed large in the mind of the Christian author of the Letter to the Hebrews (c.63-4), was discussed in second century by Justin Martyr, Origen, and Tertullian and later by St Ambose. Herakles’ adventures against Cacus (personifying Evil), his catabasis to the Underworld following his initiation to the Eleusinian mysteries, his resurrection of Alcestis, and, finally, his own apotheosis were taken up anew during early Christianity at a time when defining the new religion against the established pagan cults was crucial for its success. However, rather than this being a desperate attempt on behalf of Christianity to secure its appeal, Herakles, the glutton of the Greek literature, the arch-enemy of Lactantius and the ideal ruler of distinctly anti-Christian Roman emperors such as Diocletian, offered the Christian thinkers a sounding board for debating some of the core issues of Christianity such as flesh resurrection and immortality, the nature and effects of the vices, baptism and even possession and exorcism.

Anagnosout-Laoutides suggests that the Orphisized Herakles of the first Christian centuries shaped the arena of a new type of cultural competition in the shadows of the Second Sophistic which the Christian Fathers had inherited – the competition of dogmas.

In: Herakles Inside and Outside the Church

Abstract

Taking start from the recent work of Siniossoglou (2011), Anagnostou-Laoutides examines the Neoplatonic and Stoic profiles of Herakles in the Byzantine East, where he influences the tradition of the mixed-race hero Digenis Akritas who in his final exploit fights against death, a fight which is considered to be the pinnacle of Byzantine philosophy.

By closely reading the references to Herakles in the works of Michael Psellos, Plethon Gemistos, Demetrius Kydones, Maximus Planudes and Maximus Confessor in relation to Herakles’ descriptions by Plotinus and Proclus the paper argues that Stoicism was employed by Byzantine authors as a practical guide and even as a preparation for an ecstatic (i.e. Platonic) union with God which remained the preferred way of experiencing the divine in the East, especially in the case of asceticism.

In: Herakles Inside and Outside the Church

Abstract

This chapter explores the reception of Herakles in early Christianity, highlighting the thorough engagement of early Christian thinkers with all strands of pagan philosophical and literary traditions.

By the fourth century BCE, Herakles with his attributes of determination and endurance in the face of adversity had become an ideal for moralists and philosophers. The famous Choice of Herakles by Prodicus paved the way for the comparison of Herakles with Christ which was further anticipated by his investment with Roman Stoic values. Herakles loomed large in the mind of the Christian author of the Letter to the Hebrews (c.63-4), was discussed in second century by Justin Martyr, Origen, and Tertullian and later by St Ambose. Herakles’ adventures against Cacus (personifying Evil), his catabasis to the Underworld following his initiation to the Eleusinian mysteries, his resurrection of Alcestis, and, finally, his own apotheosis were taken up anew during early Christianity at a time when defining the new religion against the established pagan cults was crucial for its success. However, rather than this being a desperate attempt on behalf of Christianity to secure its appeal, Herakles, the glutton of the Greek literature, the arch-enemy of Lactantius and the ideal ruler of distinctly anti-Christian Roman emperors such as Diocletian, offered the Christian thinkers a sounding board for debating some of the core issues of Christianity such as flesh resurrection and immortality, the nature and effects of the vices, baptism and even possession and exorcism.

Anagnosout-Laoutides suggests that the Orphisized Herakles of the first Christian centuries shaped the arena of a new type of cultural competition in the shadows of the Second Sophistic which the Christian Fathers had inherited – the competition of dogmas.

In: Herakles Inside and Outside the Church

Abstract

Taking start from the recent work of Siniossoglou (2011), Anagnostou-Laoutides examines the Neoplatonic and Stoic profiles of Herakles in the Byzantine East, where he influences the tradition of the mixed-race hero Digenis Akritas who in his final exploit fights against death, a fight which is considered to be the pinnacle of Byzantine philosophy.

By closely reading the references to Herakles in the works of Michael Psellos, Plethon Gemistos, Demetrius Kydones, Maximus Planudes and Maximus Confessor in relation to Herakles’ descriptions by Plotinus and Proclus the paper argues that Stoicism was employed by Byzantine authors as a practical guide and even as a preparation for an ecstatic (i.e. Platonic) union with God which remained the preferred way of experiencing the divine in the East, especially in the case of asceticism.

In: Herakles Inside and Outside the Church
In: Dreams, Memory and Imagination in Byzantium