so greek

thepoodlepack  asked:

What do you think about the gods of ancient/other religions not actually being gods, but other, immortal beings? They'd all be the same race as the people who primarily practiced each religion, so I thought it would be okay, but I still wanted a second opinion.

Changing Gods of Ancient Religions into other Immortal Beings

There are a couple of religions where this would be incredibly inappropriate.

Sure, you can make Zeus a Greek guy if you want (I mean, he liked to walk around as a Greek guy, so I don’t think that’s an issue)… but some religions, this would just not work on any level. Religions are like cultures - you can’t just make things “fair” by making a blanket statement about all religions or treating them all as if they’re interchangeable.

–Stella

However, considering this is actually the tradition in many cultures, I’d say it’s 100% fine/would be inaccurate to not go this route for some. It’s just a case of knowing which ones you can go this route for.

You can also run into some implications you don’t realize, depending on the religion. Make sure to really dig down beyond basic overviews of deities and understand them in the full cultural context.

~ Mod Lesya

Please leave us Jewish people (and I suspect Muslims might feel the same way) out of a story like this.

–Shira

I want to see Greek gods in the modern era.

I want to see Zeus in a tailored suit and shaggy beard, a walking disparity of the loud, brash, post-graduate frat boy variety who can’t pass a woman on the street without catcalls, who has more one-night stands than he could possibly keep in his head, for whom adultery comes as naturally as the weather he predicts on the Channel 4 News—with startlingly accuracy, and an endless wealth of charisma.

I want to see Hera walking tall, six-inch heels and not a wrinkle in her skirt, knowing her boyfriend is cheating, and knowing with equal certainty that she is better, stronger, fiercer than he will ever be, a wedding planner with an eye of steel, spotting vulnerability, slicing it open, teaching every woman who crosses her path to value themselves over any mistake made in the name of men and love.

I want to see Poseidon in Olympic prime, a gym rat who skives off class to shatter backstroke records, who spends his summers lifeguarding at the city pool, who keeps an ever-expanding aquarium in his bedroom and coaxes all the pretty girls up to visit his fish, his charm as impressive as the earth-rending temper he generally uses to fuel his competitive nature.

I want to see Hades, big, hulking, quieter than his brothers would ever think to be, who dresses in neat dark clothes, and polishes his boots, and spends more time reading than fighting, who debates eventuality and ethics, who stoically reminds everyone how enormous, how terrifying, how inescapable a thing like silent inevitability can be.

I want to see Hermes in a beanie, with watercolor splashes of tattoo crawling up his arms and holes in his Chucks, a bike messenger with no helmet, no regard for the rules of the road, all cataclysmic laughter, lock-pick tricks passed along to every kid who thinks to ask, thumbing through his iPhone without a care in the world.

I want to see Athena with reading glasses pushed high on her head, six books in her bag and a switchblade in her back pocket, her clothing as neatly ordered as her mind is feverish, brilliance and temper clashing and blending, doing her best to look dignified—even when her brain chemistry rockets ahead of her well-intentioned plans.

I want to see Apollo splattered with acrylics, board shorts and Monster headphones and a beautiful classic car, busking on street corners, not because he has no choice, but because the sunlight catching on a sticker-patterned acoustic is summer incarnate, because music is blood, because the act of creation is the ultimate in sublime.

I want to see Artemis in ripped jeans and haphazard topknot, star of the soccer team, the track team, the archery team, who rides a motorcycle, and keeps a tribe of girls around her at all times, and does not care for men, for expectation, for anything but volunteer hours down at the local animal shelter and falling asleep under the stars.

I want to see Aphrodite in sundress and scarf, homemade jewelry and lavish amounts of bright red lipstick, who is excellent at public speaking, at theater auditions, at soothing bruised egos and sparking epic fights, who kisses as easily as she breathes and scrawls poetry onto bathroom stalls.

I want to see Ares all but living in the boxing ring, cutoff shirts and sweats, red-faced under a crew cut as he punches, punches, punches until the noise in his head dims, a warrior with no war, all crude jokes and blind fury, totally incapable of understanding what it is to sit, think, plan before running screaming into the fray.

I want to see Demeter with the best garden you’ve seen in your life, with a lawn care business she runs out of her garage, a teenage prodigy grown into a joint-custody single mother, who teaches her carefree daughter all she knows while scaring off the hopeful neighborhood boys with the pet python draped across her shoulders.

I want to see Dionysus with a joint in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, baggy hoodies and three-week-old jeans, who brews his own beer in his basement and greets all visitors with a fresh pack of Oreos and half-stoned theories of the universe, of birth and death and partying mid-week, because why not, man?

I want to see Hephaestus with a workshop taking up the majority of his house, whose kitchen is overrun with blowtorches, whose bathrooms are home to all manner of hodge-podge invention, who walks with a cane and forgets his laundry for weeks at a time, and strings together the most beautiful steampunk costumes at any convention at the drop of a hat.

I want to see wood nymphs fighting against climate change, waving their signs and pushing for scientific progress. I want to see epic heroes sitting down to Magic: The Gathering tournaments, poker brawls, Call of Duty all-nighters with beer and snapbacks. I want to see Medusa working a women’s shelter, want to see Achilles training for deployment, want to see Prometheus serving endless community service stints for what he calls providing necessary welfare with stolen goods.

Give me modern mythology. I could play for hours in that sandbox.

The old gods are dead

Zeus sits at the bar, he’ll buy a thousand and one drinks and the girls who he smiles at will raise their eyebrows and think of the pepper spray tucked into their sleeves.

Hera waits at home. She knows the numbers of all the girls and she has their facebooks open on the computer. Her hands hover over the keyboard., She wants to tell them that men will always lie. She wants to take her own advice. She never will.

Apollo and Artemis travel the world. They are chasing the sun. Chasing the moon. They will never catch up. Their hand are curled around each others hip bones. Never in public though. They look too similar for that now. Society has learned judgement and so they keep their caresses safe in the shadows.

Poseidon wanders the shore. He wears a plastic poncho and carries a bag of trash. His tears mix with the salt water. No one can tell the difference. A girl with hair that moves like serpents trails after him, retribution in her eyes.

Hades lies in bed, his wife curled around him. He smiles because people will always believe in death and finally, finally he has beaten his brothers at something.

Athena paces through college campuses, handing out pamphlets on architecture. She scoffs at professors who are simply going through the motions. She carries signs in her hands as she marches through the streets with the students, screaming about the newest problem. She laughs wild, these children, these fearless children are her people.

Hestia wants her family to come home. She waits in the doorway, arms outstretched and a smile like forgiveness waiting to embrace the siblings whom she knows will never return.

Demeter counts down the days until her daughter returns. She smiles when children cheer over the snow days she gives them. There was a time when she had a child like that.

Persephone kisses her husband and grins when people tremble. She is vengeful and wears flowers in her hair and she will make damn sure that the world will never forget her name.

Ares walks through the Middle East, picking his way around the ruins of an elementary school. He stopped understanding war a long time ago. This was not brave, this was not heroic. This was senseless.

Aphrodite narrows her eyes at boys in cars who yell obscene things. She’s long since stopped romanticizing love. She is gaunt and over worked but sometimes she sees a teenage girl handing her baby over to an older couple who had tried for years and she feels young again. Sometimes, she sees Ares from across the room as soldiers embrace their loved ones and they smile at each other. 

 Hephaestus limps through his shop, his hands are worn down, his back is still twisted but people don’t seem to notice anymore. He makes their furniture, their toys and trinkets and they thank him, they pay him.

 Hermes runs through the streets of New York, Tokyo, London. He is young in this time, young and beautiful and slipping between business men, his hands finding their way into their pockets. He never stops laughing. 

 Dionysus mixes Zeus his drinks. He watches his family grin and cry and get sick in the back room of the bar. He holds back their hair and hands them another drink before they even ask. He’s been here a long time. He’s seen them drunk more often then he’s seen them sober. He is watching them flicker out and fade. 

 The gods are dying. The gods are dead. The gods are us.

-L.D.

Thoughts on Patroclus

Friendly reminder that Patroclus should not be remember simply as “Achilles’ bitch”.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus was a little shit. He had the power, the looks and the skills, and he knew it. Not only he excelled at battle; he did it while taunting his enemies all the fucking time cause he was going to win and he knew it.

Friendly reminder that he was the one guy who got to call out on Achilles, something no one else dared to do. In fact, men went to ask him to call out on Achilles because everyone was scared of him. Except for Patroclus.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus had advanced medical knowledge, something extremly rare at the time. He healed many of his friends and comrades during battle. Hadn’t it been for him, many great warriors would have died.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus was loyal to a fault. He was always by Achilles’ side in battle. He never disobeyed Achilles orders. The one time he did, was the time he died.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus was kind and had a soft heart. He cried because while Achilles’ Rage lasted, he wouldn’t let any of his men enter battle, Patroclus included. And while Achilles’ troops were hiding in their ships, the rest of the Greek army got crushed. Patroclus felt so powerless and helpless because he couldn’t do nothing as he saw his comrades dying.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus had a character crisis. He had to decide whether obeying his Lord’s commands and abandoning his friends in battle, or going against his Lord’s wishes and engaging fight.

Friendly reminder that he refused to stay behind like a coward. He chose to enter battle, but since he was a honourable man he told Achilles about it. Friendly reminder that he managed to sway Achilles’ Rage. Friendly reminder that he managed to convince Achilles to let their troops rejoin the war, thus returning the victory to the Greeks.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus was flawed. He committed hubris. He got so battle drunk and was so excited by the prospect of finally ending the war, that he disobeyed Achilles’ direct command not to fight near the walls of Troy, and chased the Troyans back to the limits of the city. To the place Achilles had specifically told him not to go because it would be too dangerous. Friendly reminder that this one flaw is his downfall.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus doesn’t go down without giving one hell of a fight. Friendly reminder that Patroclus was so strong that Apollo (the God that protected Troy and Hector [Troy’s heir to the throne]) had to face him and repel him four times. Four times. A god. If that ain’t badass, then I don’t know what could be. In the fourth time, Apollo got inside Patroclus’ head and made him dizzy. Patroclus fell and Apollo removed him from his armour- Achilles’ armour. Patroclus ended up unprotected, vulnerable and dizzy in the middle of the battle field; so a random dude saw the opportunity and stabbed his back with a spear. But was that enough to make him go down? Oh heck no. The pain snapped him out of the dizziness. Patroclus realized he was in a very troublesome situation so he decided to fall back… but at that moment Hector engaged him in battle. And Patroclus wouldn’t retire from a direct combat, oh heck he wouldn’t. Even though he knew this was probably the way he would die, he fought with his all.

Friendly reminder that lacking his armor, tired from battle, with a spear wound on his back and only Achilles’ sword left as weapon, Patroclus faced Hector, Troy’s greatest warrior and didn’t fear.

Friendly reminder that when Hector sheathed his spear in Patroclos’ stomach, Patroclus thought about the love of his life.

Friendly reminder that with his last breath Patroclus smiled at Hector and told him “You are a dead man. This will be your downfall”. Friendly reminder that until his last moment, he was a little shit.

Friendly reminder that Patroclus is a flawed, well-rounded, badass character and that he deserves so much more than his current position as “Achilles’s love interest”.

Those who approach the New Testament solely through English translations face a serious linguistic obstacle to apprehending what these writings say about justice. In most English translations, the word ‘justice’ occurs relatively infrequently. It is no surprise, then, that most English-speaking people think the New Testament does not say much about justice; the Bibles they read do not say much about justice. English translations are in this way different from translations into Latin, French, Spanish, German, Dutch — and for all I know, most languages.


The basic issue is well known among translators and commentators. Plato’s Republic, as we all know, is about justice. The Greek noun in Plato’s text that is standardly translated as 'justice’ is 'dikaiosune;’ the adjective standardly translated as 'just’ is 'dikaios.’ This same dik-stem occurs around three hundred times in the New Testament, in a wide variety of grammatical variants.


To the person who comes to English translations of the New Testament fresh from reading and translating classical Greek, it comes as a surprise to discover that though some of those occurrences are translated with grammatical variants on our word 'just,’ the great bulk of dik-stem words are translated with grammatical variants on our word 'right.’ The noun, for example, is usually translated as 'righteousness,’ not as 'justice.’ In English, we have the word 'just’ and its grammatical variants coming from the Latin iustitia, and the word 'right’ and its grammatical variants coming from the Old English recht. Almost all our translators have decided to translate the great bulk of dik-stem words in the New Testament with grammatical variants on the latter — just the opposite of the decision made by most translators of classical Greek.


I will give just two examples of the point. The fourth of the beatitudes of Jesus, as recorded in the fifth chapter of Matthew, reads, in the New Revised Standard Version, 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.’ The word translated as 'righteousness’ is 'dikaiosune.’ And the eighth beatitude, in the same translation, reads 'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ The Greek word translated as 'righteousness’ is 'dikaiosune.’ Apparently, the translators were not struck by the oddity of someone being persecuted because he is righteous. My own reading of human affairs is that righteous people are either admired or ignored, not persecuted; people who pursue justice are the ones who get in trouble.


It goes almost without saying that the meaning and connotations of 'righteousness’ are very different in present-day idiomatic English from those of 'justice.’ 'Righteousness’ names primarily if not exclusively a certain trait of personal character. … The word in present-day idiomatic English carries a negative connotation. In everyday speech one seldom any more describes someone as righteous; if one does, the suggestion is that he is self-righteous. 'Justice,’ by contrast, refers to an interpersonal situation; justice is present when persons are related to each other in a certain way.


… When one takes in hand a list of all the occurrences of dik-stem words in the Greek New Testament, and then opens up almost any English translation of the New Testament and reads in one sitting all the translations of these words, a certain pattern emerges: unless the notion of legal judgment is so prominent in the context as virtually to force a translation in terms of justice, the translators will prefer to speak of righteousness.


Why are they so reluctant to have the New Testament writers speak of primary justice? Why do they prefer that the gospel of Jesus Christ be the good news of the righteousness of God rather than the good news of the justice of God? Why do they prefer that Jesus call his followers to righteousness rather than to justice?

—  Nicholas Wolsterstorff
6

Bucket List:

Explore the Islands of Greece

2

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More of this AU

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