The most Greek of Jews said …
the poet Homer, though the number of poets is beyond all calculation, is called “the Poet” by way of distinction, and as the black (ink) with which we write is called the black, though in point of fact everything which is not white is black
And Plutarch could just write
the Poet and everyone knew who was meant. Homer, simply the Poet.
How did he rise so high? Declared Dio Chrysostom,
without divine favour, without inspiration of the Muses and Apollo, it is simply impossible for poetry to be created which is so lofty and magnificent, and withal so sweet. He added words of Democritus, that
Homer, having been blessed with a divinely inspired genius, fashioned an ornament of verses of every kind. The Inspired Poet.
This inspiration let him unveil the gods …
Whence the gods severally sprang, whether or no they had all existed from eternity, what forms they bore- these are questions of which the Greeks knew nothing until the other day, so to speak. For Homer and Hesiod were the first to compose Theogonies, and give the gods their epithets, to allot them their several offices and occupations, and describe their forms; and they lived but four hundred years before my time, as I believe.
Unveil? Wait a minute …
I will tell you, although I have always from my earliest youth had an awe and love of Homer, which even now makes the words falter on my lips, for he is the great captain and teacher of the whole of that charming tragic company; but a man is not to be reverenced more than the truth, and therefore I will speak out.
The Poet has gods quarreling, passionate, capricious, the source of bad as well as good …
Homer … not only tell lies but bad lies … immoral as well as false … God must be represented as he is; not as the author of all things, but of good only
Think of the young! So unfortunately
when we have anointed him with myrrh, and set a garland of wool upon his head, we shall send him away to another city.
But hold on …
Regarding these matters there is indeed another theory, which is fuller, longer, and not easy to expound, dealing with the question whether Homer erred in these particulars, or whether he was merely transmitting to mankind certain doctrines about natural phenomena embodied in the myths after the fashion then in vogue.
Another theory. Let’s hear it -
under the veil of allegory, (the Poet) conceals … mysterious signification. Homer
obscurely indicated the images of things of a more divine nature in the fiction of a fable. So no transgression. Only truth. Hiding in allegory. Who said?
Plato’s last followers, that’s who! Scrubbing with allegory, they raised Homer beyond inspiration. He ended antiquity as