Sex and the Ancient City

The Hebrew Bible and the Odyssey are both preoccupied by the moral and political consequences of ungoverned sexuality and aggression.



Krater fragment, c. 460-450 BC, creator unknown. Heritage Arts/Heritage Images via Getty Images.
Krater fragment, c. 460-450 BC, creator unknown. Heritage Arts/Heritage Images via Getty Images.
Observation
Feb. 10 2022
About the author

Jacob Howland is McFarlin professor of philosophy (emeritus) at the University of Tulsa. His research focuses on ancient Greek philosophy, history, epic, and tragedy; the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud; Kierkegaard; and literary and philosophical responses to the Holocaust and Soviet totalitarianism.

This essay is the second in a six-part series by Jacob Howland on Homer and the Hebrew Bible. Historians of Western intellectual culture sometimes compare “Jerusalem,” or the biblical traditions that erupt into history at Sinai, with “Athens,” the city where Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle sought human wisdom through the exercise of the human mind. In this series, Howland invites a different comparison. Rather than comparing later prophets to philosophers, he looks back at yet earlier cultural cornerstones set at the very foundations of Hebraic and Greek civilizations. Future installments in Howland’s series will arrive monthly. —The Editors

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More about: Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Homer