Monday, May 16, 2011

Spirited: Notes on My Thesis #3

I proctored another exam today. I finally managed to read a bit of scholarship today during the exam. I read Ian Morris' "Attitudes Toward Death in Archaic Greece" (JSTOR) and Norman Gulley's "Plato on Poetry" (JSTOR). I will review the articles in more depth tomorrow.

Morris' article is a rebuttle of work done in two articles by Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood. I have not read either of the articles, but I based some of my thesis on Sourvinou-Inwood's book 'Reading' Greek Death and I thought I could use Morris' arguments about the evolution of the city-state demonstrated through burials and Sourvinou-Inwood's contention on the changes in the fear of death and eschatology over time throughout the history of Greece. This article worried me.

The problem that Morris seems to have with Sourvinou-Inwood is not her understanding of the history (although he sees this as simplistic) but more with her use of analogy for the construction of her theory. I find the analogies not to be particularly useful-- they are certainly not evidence-- but just because the analogies might be poor does not make the argument incorrect. More to come...

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