The Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece
Original title: Les Maitres de verite dans la Grece archaique
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The Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece are three kinds of characters that are qualified by their functions, in the social and cultural context of archaic Greece, as keepers of a privilege inseparable from their institutional part. These three characters are:
– the bard
– the soothsayer
– the king of justice
Their common privilege is to give out “Truth.” At least that is how we translate the Greek word “Aletheia,” the values of which, in ancient religious thought, extend beyond the frame of our concept of truth, exactly as the “Rta” of the Indo-Iranians do: this “truth” is not separate from neither the ritual order, nor prayer, law, and the cosmic power that ensures the regular come-back of daybreaks.
A gripping book that sociologists of religion and historians of philosophy should read. ~ J.-P. Vernant, Archives de sociologie des religions
Marcel Detienne is an hellenic scholar and an essaist, notably specialized in ancient Greece. He is now a lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University and a supervisor at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes.