Veyne – Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?

Paul Veyne, Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination, 1988.   Athena in a black-figure vase, attributed Pamphaios, mid-5th century B.C.   Do children at once believe in Santa Claus and the toys as coming from parents? Yes. Ethiopians believe leopards are Christian and observe Coptic fasting days, but take…

Bakhtin – Rabelais and his World

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, 1965 [EN 1984]   Gustave Doré’s illustration.   Especially on the first try, Rabelais can read like a relentless wave of examples and close literary analysis. The importance of this long and deep engagement with Rabelais’ writing is central to communicating with Bakhtin. Nevertheless, this summary functions more like a companion, summarising arguments…

Weber – The Protestant Ethic

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. 1905 [EN 1930]   Page numbers from the Dover Publication 2003 edition. Jan Vermeer, The Milkmaid, c.1658   The Spirit of Capitalism A series of contemporary statistics and common sense (35-40), Weber says, clearly shows the cohabitation of Protestantism and capitalistic enterprise. Western civilisation had apparently intersected a spirit…