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Greek Distrust Of Language

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Chapter Summary

One of the salient characteristics of ancient Greek tradition was its deep distrust of the ability of language to express the true order of things. To do justice to the characteristically Greek view of verbal communication or, to be more precise, the lack of verbal communication with the divine, we have to go as far back as the myth of creation. The Greek gods, who did not create the universe but themselves were "born" in the process of its development, were conceived of as immanent to the universe and thus subject to its laws. This naturally rules out any idea of a creator who transcends the universe and therefore is free to dictate its laws. The worst possible thing that could happen in the process of decoding of verbal messages coming from gods was their literal interpretation.

Keywords: Greek tradition; language; universe

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