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Why do we study Greek Myths?

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    Why do we study Greek Myths?

    Someone asked me this the other day ..... and short of saying "Well, they're beautiful and fascinating!", I wanted a better response.


    Did we discuss this at Sodalitas? Have I read it in an article on Memoria Press?

    Help to jump start my brain.
    Plans for 2019-20

    DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
    DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
    DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
    DS6 - 5 - MP K

    [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

    #2
    Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

    To me, the Greek myths are like case studies of humanity. They are the flaws and foibles and triumphs of human beings writ large.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

      Dianna,

      You are correct in mentioning having read something in a Classical Teacher article. I'm not sure of the issue off the top of my head, but there is one titled "Why we read the pagan classics" (I think).

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

        We just had this conversation with some friends over the weekend. (Why use the Socratic method when Socrates wasn't a Christian? Why study the Greek myths when St. Paul called the Greek gods demons?)

        The Greeks got a lot of things right. They nailed the human condition but they went off track when trying to answer questions about the meaning of life/where we came from/our overall purpose. To study the Greek myths is to better understand ourselves. We see where they missed the mark answering eternal questions and we see how the timing was right for Jesus to arrive and lead to the correct path. On another level, yes - they're also wonderful for understanding allusions made in Shakespeare and other great writers. Even such simple things as understanding sayings like, "You just opened Pandora's Box". A well-read, intelligent, learned person knows these myths (btw, back to the question of St. Paul my friend posed: even HE knew them!)

        I apologize for being brief and I probably missed something in this explanation; however, the kids are having a snack and are about to come running back in for their arithmetic speed drills!
        Mary

        DD15 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
        DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
        DD8 - SC level 2

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

          There was a great thread on here that Paul had answered about it. Brilliant. I'm going to dig for it.
          Tracy
          My boys: JR, Riley, and Jack
          MP rising 6A, 5A, and MPK

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

            Originally posted by DiannaKennedy View Post
            Someone asked me this the other day ..... and short of saying "Well, they're beautiful and fascinating!", I wanted a better response.


            Did we discuss this at Sodalitas? Have I read it in an article on Memoria Press?

            Help to jump start my brain.


            This series of articles from Mrs. Lowe may help:

            Why Should Christians Read the Pagan Classics?



            Cheryl

            Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

              Originally posted by DiannaKennedy View Post
              Someone asked me this the other day ..... and short of saying "Well, they're beautiful and fascinating!", I wanted a better response.


              Did we discuss this at Sodalitas? Have I read it in an article on Memoria Press?

              Help to jump start my brain.
              This thread might be what you are thinking of:
              http://forum.memoriapress.com/showth...scussion/page4
              2019-20
              DS--9, 3M/4M
              DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
              DD--5, MP K
              DS--3
              DS--1

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                Thanks to all of you!


                Can I just say that I feel like a sponge? I'm soaking up so much by bringing my children up through the MP ranks. This is marvelous.
                Plans for 2019-20

                DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
                DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
                DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DS6 - 5 - MP K

                [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                  Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
                  There was a great thread on here that Paul had answered about it. Brilliant. I'm going to dig for it.
                  Yes, I think it was a thread I started, his answer was awesome, I'll look for it too!
                  -Amy

                  Nine babies, 6 graduated, 5 married, 16 grand babies 6 and under!
                  2019-20 MP 2nd, 5A, 10th MPOA, College student. Starting 7th year using Memoria Press
                  Director of Coop 412, a Classical Christian Coop using MP and based on Ephesians 4:12.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                    Here it is!

                    Maggie,

                    One thing that I consider important to keep in mind as you teach mythology is that while they need to know the references for future reading of the classics, the Greek gods give insight into the human condition. They were personifications of virtue and vice that the Greeks observed. For example, when speaking about Ares, the D'Aulaires book says, "Ares, god of war, was tall and handsome but vain, and as cruel as his brother Hephaestus was kind." The student should be led to see that war can be attractive (tall and handsome) for what a people can gain (land, resources, and hopefully peace from enemies in the future) but that it is motivated by vanity (a country always thinks it is better than the other) and leads to tremendous cruelty. And the contrast to Hephaestus, the god of the forge, is telling as well: men who spend their days occupied in honest work can more easily see the needs of others and empathize with them but those like Ares who stand idle react like him: "When Ares heard the clashing of arms, he grinned with glee, put on his gleaming helmet, and leapt into his war chariot."

                    It can easily be overlooked that the Greeks were the first to develop the idea of human virtue (habits to do the good) and what that meant. They listed four primary virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Early Christian apologists would take those virtues and promote them as important for all people, whether Christian or not. However, only with the revelation of Christ did we receive the idea of the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. All this relates to mythology when you realize that the myths were the instruments by which the Greek people learned their morality. That they had a god of war does not mean that they worshiped war, but that they were aware of how serious a decision that was and that the outcome of a war was out of their hands and they may be the loser--so they must tread carefully when considering it. That they had a goddess of beauty does not mean that they were full only of immorality and licentiousness (obviously as sinners there was some of that too) but that there was an awareness of the goodness of creation (cf. Genesis 1) and it can be a calling to lift our minds to more heavenly things (cf. Col 3:1-2). So some important lessons should be learned from the mythology if understood in the proper way.

                    I think your daughter is somewhat correct in characterizing the mythology as "dark"--after all, the light of Christ had not been revealed yet. Christianity's saving message completely changes our outlook while the Greeks were left alone only with their human talents--which we all know will not go far without grace. Contrasted in this light, it becomes easier to see the line between the human and the divine and the need for grace becomes clearer.

                    As I said above, it is necessary that the student know the references they will come upon in reading classic literature. Dante, Keats, Milton, and Shakespeare (just to name a few) all weave references to mythology throughout their works. Just to give you an example, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Puck (a fairy) attempts to play Cupid (the Roman god of Love; his Greek name was Eros). That is only clear by the words of Puck that reference Athens, "Through the forest have I gone / But Athenian found I none..." (cf. MND 2.2.66-83). Cupid is only mentioned by name one act later, and if you didn't know that Venus is Cupid's mother, you would not understand what these words mean: "When thou wak'st, if she be by, / Beg of her for remedy" (idem 3.2.108-109). Instead of thinking of the Roman goddess, you would be thinking of the planet! And as you may have noticed, Shakespeare will use the Greek and Roman equivalents interchangeably. A student's ease in recognizing the Greek and Roman mythological figures will help tremendously as they read literature.

                    Now on to Latin: a week ago I was in Nashville for a homeschool convention and I was speaking to a woman who tutors a several children. After she told me her experience, I told her I would love to have her speak at conventions for me! She said it was so clear in her students how Latin helps put structure in their thoughts. She had a clear view because she dealt with students who didn't have Latin, students that did, and students that were learning. Now I wish I had recorded her...

                    I can only attest to my own experience growing up--I started learning Latin in 3rd grade and continued studying in partly through college without a break. Learning four other languages was not difficult compared to what my peers went through who had not had Latin (even those that grew up bilingual). As for the structure of my thoughts, I have no way to compare that to those around me! I have the same issue when it comes to students that I have taught. Every student I have ever taught has also been studying Latin. I have no "control group" to which I can compare my students. I will let the mothers who have implemented Latin at home give you their own testimony -- which I am very interested in hearing as well.

                    Finally, thank you for asking these questions; I really enjoyed writing this post!

                    Have a great day,
                    Paul
                    -Amy

                    Nine babies, 6 graduated, 5 married, 16 grand babies 6 and under!
                    2019-20 MP 2nd, 5A, 10th MPOA, College student. Starting 7th year using Memoria Press
                    Director of Coop 412, a Classical Christian Coop using MP and based on Ephesians 4:12.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                      Originally posted by Maggie View Post
                      Yes, I think it was a thread I started, his answer was awesome, I'll look for it too!
                      I'm so glad you found it Maggie! I had saved it, then lost it and couldn't remember how I had stumbled across it in the first place! Saving it again, since it is the best explanation I've ever read about it.

                      😀
                      Tracy
                      Tracy
                      My boys: JR, Riley, and Jack
                      MP rising 6A, 5A, and MPK

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                        I agree Tracy, I may just need to commit it to memory, or save it to my phone and let people read it when they ask!
                        -Amy

                        Nine babies, 6 graduated, 5 married, 16 grand babies 6 and under!
                        2019-20 MP 2nd, 5A, 10th MPOA, College student. Starting 7th year using Memoria Press
                        Director of Coop 412, a Classical Christian Coop using MP and based on Ephesians 4:12.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Why do we study Greek Myths?

                          This is such a great discussion!
                          I wanted to add one more place to reference. The Greek Myths Teacher Guide has a nice one-page summary on page 5, titled "Why Study Greek Mythology?"
                          Melanie

                          2018-2019:
                          DS 12 - 7M, MPOA
                          DD 10 - 5M, Delectare
                          DS 8 - 3M

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