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The Mind of GladstoneReligion, Homer, and Politics$
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David Bebbington

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267651

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267651.001.0001

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The Olympian Religion

The Olympian Religion

(p.178) 7 The Olympian Religion
The Mind of Gladstone

David Bebbington (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Gladstone changed his mind about aspects of Homer during the period when he was writing about the poet. Instead of rejecting the possibility that the poet drew his ideas from nature worship, Gladstone argued in 1869 that it was Homer’s genius to incorporate the phenomena of nature into a pantheon in which the human predominates. The anthropomorphic principle meant that the gods and goddesses of Olympus were characteristically depicted in human form. The human element in the divine, which Gladstone had previously presented as a debasing influence, was now shown to be an elevating factor. Gladstone subsequently publicised the findings of Heinrich Schliemann on the site of Troy and argued for connections between ancient Greece and the civilisation of the East. In his last years, he was planning a book to repudiate the views about Homer of the evolutionary school of anthropology associated with Edward Tylor.

Keywords:   Homer, nature, gods, Heinrich Schliemann, Troy, Greece, Edward Tylor

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