The Myth Reading Group returns this term with the theme of “Afterlives”. Our opening session, introduced by Dr. Leon Burnett, will be on Osiris.
In his lifetime, according to myth, Osiris was responsible for introducing civilization and agriculture to Egypt and the wider world. After his death, he became lord of the underworld (the Duat), holding out the promise of eternal life to his subjects. For his followers, the transition from the land of the living to the land of the dead was an exacting one, which required the assistance of magic to ensure a safe passage.
Osiris’s own death, however, was a very different affair, in which a thematic affinity with an episode in the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone is unmistakeable. This week’s session will look at Plutarch’s account of the death and resurrection of Osiris as told in “Isis and Osiris” (De iside et osiride). As Plutarch states at the start of his essay, “the effort to arrive at the Truth, and especially the truth about the gods, is a longing for the divine”.
The text, “Isis and Osiris”, is taken from Plutarch, Moralia; trans Frank Cole Babbitt (Loeb Classical Library, Vol. V, 1936) and is available here. See also the Greek text on the Perseus Digital Library.
Myth Reading Group
Thursday 21 January
12:00-1.30pm Room 3.318
Poster and text:
Additional material and further reading: