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Gladstone Centenary Essays$
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David Bebbington and Roger Swift

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853239253

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313202

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Gladstone and Homer

Gladstone and Homer

Chapter:
(p.57) Gladstone and Homer
Source:
Gladstone Centenary Essays
Author(s):

David Bebbington

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853239253.003.0004

This chapter examines the reasons why Gladstone took up Homeric studies and attempts to bring out the significance of the substantial shift in his views. One reason for Gladstone's study of Homer is that the task provided a diversion from politics, a way of spending spare time profitably. A second explanation of his dedication to Homer is that he was eager to attack the opinions of George Grote, the leading authority of the day on ancient Greece. A third reason for the Homeric enterprise was distinctly religious. During the 1850s Gladstone became troubled by the growth of the assumption that little or nothing about religion was supernatural. He mounted an assault on the notion that religion is merely an expression of human instincts, using Homer's depiction of the pagan gods and goddesses.

Keywords:   Homeric studies, politics, George Grote, religion, human instincts, pagan gods

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