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  • Metadata

    • Document type
      Review (monograph)
      Author (Review)
      • Strauss Clay, Jenny
      Language (Review)
      Language (Monograph)
      English, Deutsch
      Editor (Monograph)
      • Meier-Brügger, Michael
      Homer, gedeutet durch ein großes Lexikon
      Year of publication
      Place of publication
      de Gruyter
      Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Neue Folge
      Series (vol.)
      Number of pages
      XVI, 377
      Subject classification
      History of education, History of literature, Historical Linguistics
      Time classification
      until 499 AD → 999 - 1 BC
      Regional classification
      Ancient World → Greece / ancient
      Subject headings
      Original source URL
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Michael Meier-Brügger (ed.): Homer, gedeutet durch ein großes Lexikon (reviewed by Jenny Strauss Clay)

sehepunkte 13 (2013), Nr. 6

Michael Meier-Brügger (Hg.): Homer, gedeutet durch ein großes Lexikon

Along with my toothbrush and passport, Beekes, and the Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos (Kühner-Gerth being available on line) are an indispensible - although not lightweight - part of my travel gear (it is certainly welcome news to hear that the Lexikon will soon be available on-line). The completion of the LfgE in 2010 did indeed warrant celebration and, of course, a scholarly conference. The volume under review is the result, but unfortunately disappoints on several counts. Of the 17 contributions, few have much to do with the LfgE , some of the articles are recycled, and by some whim of fairness, they are arranged in alphabetical order by author. The result is that a general statement of the genesis and history of the Lexikon come somewhere in the middle (M. Schmidt, "Snells Erben: Zur Geschichte des Lexikons des frühgriechichen Epos "). While describing the acceleration of publication after the first volume containing the letter alpha , Schmidt does not explain what must have been the methodological changes that allowed the rest of the alphabet to be treated in only three final volumes. Part of the answer here comes from the three-page contribution of the final editor of the Lexikon , Meier-Brügger, who notes the drastic abridgement of etymological discussion after volume one. He also schematically outlines what he learned from his experience, and charmingly recounts his favorite discovery: the etymology of ἐάφθη. His further remarks "mit einem weinenden und lachenden Auge" on work on the LfgE appeared in the conference program, but are not reproduced here, although Nordheider's masterful scholarly analysis of the Bremer Stadtmusikanten is. Explicit engagement with the role of Bruno Snell and his notions of the evolution of the Greek Geist , which were the founding impulse for the undertaking, comes toward the end in A. Schmitt's, 50-page piece "Vom Gliedergefüge zum handelden Menschen. Snells entwicklungsgeschichtliche Homerdeutung und ein mögliches Homerbild heute" (whose focus is really the unity of the Iliad's plot and whose counterpart for the Odyssey is the contribution of Radke-Ullmann, "Odysseus bei den Phäaken"); and albeit indirectly in Scodel's, "ἦ and Theory of Mind in the Iliad ," where she explores the use of ἦ in speeches in which one character either assumes or questions, often ironically, the intentions or motivations of another. The theoretical underpinnings seem unnecessary to me, but such statements certainly imply that characters within the poem look at others as integral subjects. It is furthermore almost ironic that those several discussions that do engage with lexemes and lexicographical issues focus on matters not dealt with in the LfgE (Hettrich "Präpositionalausdrücke bei Homer," de Jong, "Double deixis in Homeric speech: on the interpretation of hode and houtos ," and Scodel again). Three articles deal with Alexandrian scholarship (Montanari, Nünlist, Rengakos); Niemeier presents a useful Stand der Forschung on the late Bronze Age in Greece and Asia Minor; Danek suggests that the south Slavic "post-traditional singer" Avdo Medodovic rather than Cor Huso offers an appropriate analogy for Homer, while Führer offers an outline of a project for "Naming Patroklos," to restate the argument for the importance of context for the deployment of formulas. Finally, Tichy provides a sample of her Ilias diachronica with her analysis of Iliad 14 and concludes that the Dios apate should be considered an older independent piece, now embedded in our Iliad . Amid these very different contributions, there is, nevertheless, a general insistence, characteristic of German scholarship, on the uniqueness of the Homeric epics, and an uneasiness with pure "orality".

I would have liked to have seen included at least a few juicy examples of scholars exploiting, taking issue, or elaborating on specific lemmata drawn from the LfgE and demonstrating its utility. Some engagement with the following issues would also have been welcome: what does the Lexikon do for us that the TLG or the Chicago Homer doesn't? Are all those years of collecting and sorting strips of paper depassé in our electronic age? Or can the intensive application of scholarly categorization and discernment nevertheless make productive contributions to our understanding of early Greek epic?

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