The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life

The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life

by Luc Ferry


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“A marvelously wise and expansive book. . . . Ferry writes with warmth, wit, and energy; one could call his prose conversational, but it’s rare to have a conversation quite this wonderful.” — Boston Globe

A fascinating journey through Greek mythology that explains the myths' timeless lessons and meaning

Heroes, gods, and mortals. The Greek myths are the founding narratives of Western civilization: to understand them is to know the origins of philosophy, literature, art, science, law, and more. Indeed, as Luc Ferry shows in this masterful book, they remain a great store of wisdom, as relevant to our lives today as ever before. No mere legends or clichés ("Herculean task," "Pandora's box," "Achilles heel," etc.), these classic stories offer profound and manifold lessons, providing the first sustained attempt to answer fundamental human questions concerning "the good life," the burden of mortality, and how to find one's place in the world. Vividly retelling the great tales of mythology and illuminating fresh new ways of understanding them, The Wisdom of the Myths will enlighten readers of all ages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062215451
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Series: Learning to Live
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 496,442
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Luc Ferry is a philosopher and the author of the national bestseller A Brief History of Thought. From 2002 to 2004 he served as France's minister of national education. He has been awarded the Prix Médicis, Prix Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, and Prix Aujourd'hui, in addition to being an officer of the French Legion of Honor and a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. He lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Greek Mythology: For Whom? For What? 1

1 The Birth of the Gods and of the Universe 43

2 From the Birth of the Gods to That of Mortals 101

3 The Wisdom of Odysseus-or, The Reconquest of a Lost Harmony 167

4 Hubris: The Cosmos Menaced by a Return to Chaos-or, How the Absence of Wisdom Spoils the Existence of Mortals 207

5 Dikè and Cosmos: The Hero's First Mission, to Guarantee Cosmic Order Against the Return of Chaos 247

6 The Misfortunes of Oedipus and of His Daughter Antigone-or, Why Mortals Are So Often "Punished" Without Having Sinned 337

Conclusion: Mythology and Philosophy: The Lesson of Dionysus and Secular Spirituality 369

Index 391

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