This fascinating comparison between two remarkable and influential cultures examines the gods, myths, and wondrous stories that each religion contains, as well as the ways in which the two religions have survived in contemporary times. The author portrays the ancient Greeks as keen original thinkers, capable of breaking with the past and engaging in abstract thought. Religion in Greece had no creed, no code or system of morality, and no ecclesiastical authority, and was an admixture of mythology mixed in with some sort of philosophy. On the other hand, the Romans were more conservative, tenacious of the past, and orderly in their religions–never quite abandoning their half-savage past, and devising a theology and philosophy that was little more than a simplified adaptation of Greek thought. A book recommended for anyone with an interest in the intellectual and spiritual life of two of the world’s most extraordinary peoples.
Herbert Jennings Rose (5 May 1883, Orillia – 31 July 1961, St Andrews) is remembered as the author of A Handbook of Greek Mythology, originally published in 1928, which for many years became the standard student reference book on the subject, reaching a sixth edition by 1958. Rose’s Handbook was brought up-to-date along the same framework by Robin Hard, in The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology (Routledge 2004), a project that began as a mere revision.
Rose is best remembered as the author of A Handbook of Greek Mythology, 1928. This was his most successful work and is still widely used as a student reference book.
Upon his death it was written in the Glasgow Herald:
“The Scottish Universities have lost one of their most learned personalities by the death of Emeritus Professor H. J. Rose . . . as a lecturer he was much liked by both learned and popular audiences, while as teacher and colleague he was greatly beloved by generations of pupils and colleagues”.
Although there are many great things to say about this writer, his works were extremely bias painting a picture of Ancient religion as savagely and sluggishly imaginative. The bias comes from the Judeo-Christian upbringing he was given.
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