Harold Bloom was one of the last “old school” scholars out there, I shouldn’t have knocked him the other day
That sense of the spirit is of course Hebraic, and not at all Greek, and is totally alien to the text of the Iliad.
Remember Franzos and the Ost? People don’t talk in “essentials” these days. Our political order isn’t neutral, it’s Ost. Sure, it wants you to think it’s neutral.
Perhaps, perhaps not
To read the Iliad in particular without distorting it is now perhaps impossible… we are children of Abraham and not of Achilles.
Some don’t relate to that.
The true difference he says is between Yahweh on the one hand and Zeus and the Olympians, fate and the daemonic world on the other. Some will interpret Zeus&co. as the later Ideas.
The quarrel between philosophy and poetry is an “Idea” way of talking about it. Before that it was more or less autonomous gods in the plural quarreling with each other. The invention of democracy in Greece also reflects this. “Israel” permits no quarreling. There is YHWH and no other.
Talk of CRISPR and all that is really Homeric
To be only half a god appears to be Homer’s implicit definition of what makes a hero tragic.
Next to YHWH you’re nothing. Whereas next to Zeus you’re enough of something to possibly think to disagree. Totalitarianism vs. the Olympians, we see it today.
Obvious example is Hegel’s dialectic. Which ethos do you think that is? There’s a reason those Germans loved those Greeks- it’s because some didn’t feel like children of Abraham.
Doing a zoom out, Homer bothers Bloom so much that he has to constantly bring up J and the heebs throughout this book on the epic. Whatever, I appreciate it, you’re able to know something better by knowing what it’s not. We all know what an epic is, and it’s not the Torah. One can sense that he knows that the Greeks are a live option and a valid alternative to the Torah (he never mentions the cough Talmud), and you don’t see people do that these days, probably for oy vey PC reasons. Phrased more directly, Plato and Aristotle are a live option against the state religion. If we have to go to war for that end of course we’ll have to go with Homer though.
Eight-circuit noises – “the Yahwist” is another name for J
The crucial difference between the Yahwist and Homer, aside from their representations of the self, necessarily is the indescribable difference between Yahweh and Zeus.
Think of these two as secular Ideas. They’re not the same. There are essences. Some believe Aristotle was the condensed diamond of Homer, as I’ve said. Humanities-leaning people like me happen to prefer Plato. And Plato is not J.
Think of this statement in that context
The Iliad may not demand interpretation as much as the Yahwist does
That would be very questionable if he said that about Greek philosophers, in fact he’d sound like a fool. And yet we’re supposed to live in a purely Yahwist order without question.
Bloom makes a good point here though
A people whose ideal is the agon for the foremost place must fall behind in honoring their parents, while a people who exalt fatherhood and motherhood will transfer the agon to the temporal realm, to struggle there not for being the best at one time, but rather for inheriting the blessing, which promises more life in a time without boundaries.
Too much dialecticism, too much philosophy. People are probably thinking “There ya go, now you know why we don’t like YOU!” Life without an agon with YHWH is boring.
This is true- not only aesthetic, cerebral too
It can be argued that the spectatorship of the gods gives Homer an immense aesthetic advantage over the writers of the Hebrew Bible.
YHWH invites meekness and submission, and seeing all the different gods of Olympus has a liberating effect.
Another way to contrast them
Zeus is capricious and is finally limited by fate. Yahweh surprises you, and has no limitation.
They identify as fate themselves, hence “the chosen”. Whereas the Greeks identified as gods that were beholden to something higher. I relate to the Greeks in having my pantheon of favorite thinkers. Their idea of “fate” is not identical to “Yahweh”. One wonders if Yahweh is similar to Zeus himself in being limited by fate. Of course, we’d know a Jew’s response to that if they ever admitted it (which they wouldn’t). Glad we could have this talk, just off the border of Israel here.