Thespis: Ritual, Myth, and Drama in the Ancient Near East

By Theodor H. Gaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
THE SEASONAL PATTERN IN RITUAL
Seasonal rituals follow a uniform pattern. This is based on the conception that life is vouchsafed in a series of leases which have annually to be renewed. The renewal is achieved, however, not through divine providence but through the concerted effort of men; and the rituals are designed to recruit and regiment that effort. They fall into the two clear divisions of Kenósis, or Emptying, and Plērósis, or Filling, the former representing the evacuation of life, the latter its replenishment. Rites of Kenosis include the observance of fasts, lents, and similar austerities, all designed to indicate that the community is in a state of suspended animation. Rites of Plerosis include mock-combats against the forces of drought or evil, mass-mating, the performance of rain charms, and the like, all designed to promote the reinvigoration of the community.The rites originally performed by the community as a whole tend in time to be centered in a single representative individual, viz. the king. It is the king who then undergoes the temporary eclipse, who fights against the noxious powers and who becomes the bridegroom in a 'sacred marriage.'What the king does on the punctual level, the god does on the durative. Accordingly, all of the ceremonies performed by the king are transmuted, through the medium of myth, into deeds done by the god. This later gives rise to the idea that the king and the other performers of the seasonal rites are merely impersonating acts originally done by the gods. The ritual then becomes drama, that is, mimetic representation.§1. In the light of the foregoing, it is apparent that if we wish to understand the true nature and origin of Drama we must begin by reconstructing a picture of the underlying seasonal ceremonies. This can be done on the basis of material drawn from many parts of the ancient and modern worlds.1 Such a picture will be, of necessity, both composite and schematic, but its typical and representative character is guaranteed by the fact that the constituent elements are everywhere virtually the same and fall, by and large, into the same basic pattern.Compact of hopes and fears, of promise and apprehension, and symbolizing -- as previously explained -- both the "emptying" or evacuation (kenosis) and the "filling" or replenishment (plerosis) of corporate vitality, this pattern consists of four major elements:
(a) First come rites of Mortification, symbolizing the state of suspended animation which ensues at the end of the year, when one lease of life has drawn to a close and the next is not yet assured.
____________________
1
It must be understood that our examples are selective rather than exhaustive.

-6-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Thespis: Ritual, Myth, and Drama in the Ancient Near East
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Author's Preface ix
  • Table of Contents xiii
  • Part One 1
  • Chapter One - The Components of Drama 3
  • Chapter Two - The Seasonal Pattern in Ritual 6
  • Chapter Three - The Seasonal Pattern in the Ancient Near East 34
  • Chapter Four - The Seasonal Pattern in Myth 49
  • Chapter Five - The Seasonal Pattern in Literature 73
  • Part Two 109
  • Canaanite Texts 113
  • Appendix - Unplaced Fragments 223
  • Introduction 225
  • Introduction 257
  • Hittite Texts 315
  • Appendix 336
  • Introduction 337
  • 3. the Myth of Telipinu 353
  • Egyptian Texts 381
  • Introduction 405
  • Act One 407
  • Act Four 409
  • Act Six 410
  • Hebrew Texts 413
  • Greek Texts 429
  • The English Mummers' Play 439
  • Appendix - Philological Notes 445
  • Index of Motifs 461
  • Index of Subjects and Authors 467
  • Bibliography 483
  • Abreviations 497
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 500

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.