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(without typos) from the publisher. 1916. Excerpt: ... narrative of
its kernel of supernatural elements, and to present the dry husk
thus obtained as historical fact, is, as has been well said, to
mistake entirely the true method of investigation and to identify
plausibility with truth. And as regards the critical point urged by
Palaiphatos, Strabo, and Polybios, that pure invention on Homer's
part is inconceivable, we may without scruple allow it, for myths,
like constitutions, grow gradually, and are not formed in a day.
But between a poet's deliberate creation and historical accuracy,
there is a wide field of the mythopceic faculty. This Euhemeristic
theory was welcomed as an essentially philosophical and critical
method by the unscientific Romans, to whom it was introduced by the
poet Ennius, that pioneer of cosmopolitan Hellenicism, and it
continued to characterise the tone of ancient thought on the
question of the treatment of mythology till the rise of
Christianity, when it was turned by such writers as Augustine and
Minucius Felix into a formidable weapon of attack on Paganism. It
was then abandoned by all those who still bent the knee to Athena
or to Zeus, and a general return, aided by the philosophic mystics
of Alexandria, to the allegorising principle of interpretation took
place, as the only means of saving the deities of Olympus from the
Titan assaults of the new Galilean God. In what vain defence, the
statue of Mary set in the heart of the Pantheon can best tell us.
Religions, however, may be absorbed, but they never are disproved,
and the stories of the Greek mythology, spiritualised by the
purifying influence of Christianity, reappear in many of the
southern parts of Europe in our own day. The old fable that the
Greek gods took service with the new religion under assumed names
has more truth in it than the many care to ...
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