December 29, 2008

Quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore

During this week of slacking, El Cabrero has been reviewing items from the last year's worth of reading material.

Today's selection involves Weird and Obscure Works that I Wouldn't Necessarily Recommend to Anyone Else. To wit, sometimes I go on extended reading jags about extremely arcane subjects. Good though. Here goes...

*Homo Necans: the Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, Walter Burkert. I told you these were obscure books. This one is about the role of hunting and later animal sacrifice in human culture, with a special focus on the Greeks.

*Violence and the Sacred, Rene Girard. This was my second time through that book, although the reasons for reading it again escape me at the moment. If I got it right, and I'm not saying I did, Girard views acts of violent scapegoating as key to maintaining the social order in early societies.

*Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Robert Parker. What can I say? It's a weird reading jag thing. I'm intrigued by the ancient Greek idea of miasma or pollution as a way of understanding contemporary violence. Short version of my theory: violence is kind of like a barrel of hazardous materials that gets dumped in some public place. Once it's out there, it's unpredictable and can pollute people far removed from the original act.

*The Goddess Fortuna in Medieval Literature, Howard Rollin Patch. Again, what can I say? She lives.

Disclaimer: El Cabrero and the staff of Goat Rope assume no responsibility for those who actually try to read these things.
NO LINKS TODAY. I'm too busy slacking to deal with current events.


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