Chapter I - TRAGICA AND COMICA
There are two `blood-lines' in Greek tragedy, called `blood-lines', because so many protagonists lose their lives in these dramas. There is the `Thebes'-group of tragedies, and the `Troy'-group. The first centres on the fate of the royal house of Thebes, the second on the end of Troy and the aftermath of the Trojan War, especially on the fate of the House of Atreus in Mycene.
The tragedies abound with dualistic elements: how difficult it is to live with the gods, and how difficult it is to live en famille. The dramas reek of blood. In some of his comedies Aristophanes also discusses the position of women; in his Lysistrata the women even rebel against the men. § 8 is about the tragical phenomenon as such: it was an exceptional cultual phenomenon, but why only in Greece? It is presented what Aristotle wrote on tragedy. It stands in sharp contrast to the ordinary, more or less harmonious and quiet way of life, what with its murderous conflicts. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 83 pp.)
Chapter II - SOPHISTICA AND SOCRATICA
Sophism is a Greek way of thinking that flourished in the final decades of the fifth century. It denied many accepted and cherished values of the common Greek ideology. Protagoras attacked the Olympian gods, Prodicus came very near to atheism, Critias thought that religion was not a natural thing, but was invented. There was a general relativism; two opposed things could be true at the same time. There was also nominalism: words did not denote what they were thought to denote. This made it possible to say that white was black and black white, which came in handy for unscrupulous politicians.
The man who combated this way of thought was Socrates. It was his opinion had to know what they said, or else they could not strive after justice or courage or piety. Words denote concepts and things, but have to be precisely used and defined. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 34 pp.)
Chapter III - PLATONICA AND ARISTOTELICA
The first and the longest part by far is devoted to Plato's philosophy, who was an outspoken dualist. His most evident dualistic element is the dualism of body and soul, the two halves of the human personality, which do not live comfortably together. His view of reality is equally dualistic. There is the world of the Forms, of the Ideas, the intelligible world, which is reality proper, and the world of changing phenomena, our world, which is not truly real; it is a world of fleeting shadows. Then there is the dualistic opposition in his theory of knowledge between those who know this, who possess the Knowledge, and those, the majority, who do not know. It is also true that he denigrated women.
His disciple and successor in the Academy was Aristotle, who was not such an outspoken dualist, but who was also not free of dualistic elements: the denigration of women and his contempt of slaves and barbarians. In his theory of the soul we see him drifting towards dualism. (Length of this chapter, with notes, = 92 pp.)
This volume contains a Bibliography and a General Index.
Published in 1988 by J.C. Gieben, Publisher.
ISBN 90 5063 020 0