Taking God seriously

Title: Taking God seriously
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2011, vol. 16, iss. 1, pp. [61]-75
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The aim of the article is to show some limitations of the cognitivist approach to the motivation of Aeschylean characters. Almost all extant Aeschylus' tragedies portray man's dependence on a transcendent reality represented by the gods, thus performing the "metatheatrical", cult framework of tragedy. Yet at the moment of making their fundamental decisions, many of Aeschylus' characters do not recognise the real power of the divine will, which can be explained by the fact that the authority of the gods is not perceivable (before the consequences of the decision take place, that is) through the "regular" cognitive apparatus used in physical and social reality. Man's dependence on the gods can be fully recognised only if his profound reflection on his circumstances includes a fundamental human self-reflection against a background of experiencing the divine tremendum. Although imposed by strong external pressure, the fundamental selfreflection and the resulting decision require at least some active involvement on the part of the character, so that they never take place without his participation (a character's reflection, or an exercise of the mind and will, is suggested also by the words used, e. g. A.219 - 221, φρενὸς δυσσεβη τροπαίαν, φρονειν μετέγνω; Supp. 407, βαθείας φροντίδος σωτηρίου). It is not possible to acquire a profound knowledge of the human situation unless one is willing to accept one's human limits and, in so doing, activate his religious sources of cognition.