Reading F.M. Cornford, Principium Sapientiae : the origins of Greek philosophical thought (1952). Nice short (apparently unfinished) book, full of fascinating ideas & information. On the origins of philosophical (non-mythical, pre-scientific) world-pictures. How they differ from the mythical; but tracing their roots back to the mythical. On the kinship & differences between poet, seer (or prophet) and sage - their common origination in the shaman. Explores Plato's view of the rivalry between poetry & philosophy. Explores affinities between Greek, Hebrew & Mesopotamian (Sumeria, Babylon) myth & ritual. Leans toward theory that the origin of mythical anthropomorphism of the gods lies in ritual : the rituals of sacred kingship. The king was the representative of the sacred, of cosmic order - the magic governor of seasonal change and spring renewal of fertility, crops, wildlife. Much myth involves succession of old & new kings (seems aligned with Frazer here). Remarkable stuff on comparative cosmogonies of early civilizations.

With this background, you can possibly understand Christianity as a synthesis or resurgence of : 1) Platonism - the transcendent Being, the One, the Mind which creates its model (the Universe); 2) Hebraic monotheism; 3) mythical sacred kingship. For believers, how you interpret the representation of the "sacred king" - Christ - would, I guess, determine, in part anyway, the character or rationale for your belief. Is Christ's (moral, spiritual) authority understood in a sort of archaic-magical sense? Or is Christ the "Everyman" - the anti-king - the antithetical (egalitarian) "king" of kings? Is Christian belief & practice a sort of re-enactment of spiritual kingship, or the transvaluation of same? (As you can probably guess, I lean toward the latter. I think Biblical religion from the beginning was a kind of semi-ironic transvaluation of the ancient Egyptian & Babylonian forms of sacred kingship.)

As for poetry - Cornford relates pre-Socratic & Platonic views of the poet as marked primarily by enthusiasm. Poetry differs from prose in that it is inspired, enthusiastic. Inspired by the gods, the poet sings beyond ordinary human capability, of things unknown (even to the poet). Seer, poet, & sage were originally all encompassed by the shaman. With the development of urban civilization and large political entities, the shaman's role is somewhat displaced by communal kingship ritual; the shaman becomes priest or adviser to the king; the roles of sage (present, wisdom), poet (past, memory), and seer (future, prophecy) are differentiated.

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