Bryn Mawr Classical Review 98.6.14


RESPONSE: Goldhill on Guidorizzi on Goldhill.


By Simon Goldhill.

Guidorizzi's self-parodying rant (BMCR 98.6.3; cf. 98.2.5) caused some amusement over here but perhaps needs a little refocusing: it may not be clear that his article was only six sides long and my comments only a couple of lines!

1] I do know (of course) that Dionysus is very occasionally referred to in Homer. Unlike G., I do not think it easy to use such references to produce a picture of social or cultic practice. My criticism was that if you wish to claim that the suitors show signs of a specifically Dionysiac out-of-body experience and that this would be 'immediately recognisable' to an original audience, the exiguous knowledge of Dionysus from Homeric epic should be considered. In the article, it wasn't at all.  

2] I do not object to comparative method -- just shoddy versions of it. If you wish to compare Eastern out-of-body experiences and Greek, it would e.g. be relevant to note how some cultures have validated figures such as shamans, but Homeric culture, as far as one can tell, doesn't (though some have looked for them).  

3] My criticism was that the lack of any Homeric parallel was worth considering if one wants to claim that one's novel interpretation would have been 'immediately recognisable'. This still seems reasonable.  

4] It will come as a surprise to many that it is 'senseless' [sic] to look for 'unity' in a collection of essays from a conference published as a book. What I had regretted (after praising several of the other articles) was the lack of 'a coherent agenda or articulated overview'. I suppose I should be grateful that the author confirms that this was not the intention of the project (in his eyes at least).

P.S. Frazer was at Trinity, not King's ... oh well.