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The Greek Gods in Modern ScholarshipInterpretation and Belief in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Germany and Britain$
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Michael D. Konaris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737896

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737896.001.0001

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The Tyranny of Nature over the Greek Gods

The Tyranny of Nature over the Greek Gods

Variations of Physical Interpretation

(p.52) 1 The Tyranny of Nature over the Greek Gods
The Greek Gods in Modern Scholarship

Michael D. Konaris

Oxford University Press

The first chapter examines different versions of the theory that the Greek gods had been gods of natural elements. This was the most influential theory in both Germany and Britain for the greater part of the nineteenth century and more scholars from this interpretive tradition are examined in the book to reflect its prominence. In particular, the chapter focuses on the work of P.W. Forchhammer (1801–94), F.G. Welcker (1784–1868), and L. Preller (1809–61), and in a section on Indo-European Comparative Mythology, of F. Max Müller (1823–1900) and W.H. Roscher (1845–1923). Emphasis is placed on the resonance of physical interpretations of the Greek gods with romantic feelings for nature and their appeal in the period is associated with contemporary resentment at the modern alienation from nature.

Keywords:   nature mythology, nature myths, nature gods, physical interpretations, Welcker, Max Müller, Roscher, Preller, Forchhammer

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