The anxiety over Pindar's consistent inconsistency in Olympian twelve : E.L. Bundy's critical discourse and modern Pindaric hermeneutics

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2011, vol. 16, iss. 2, pp. [187]-202
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
License: Not specified license
In the modern era of Pindaric criticism, E. L. Bundy (1962) laid emphasis on the rhetorical nature of Pindaric discourse. His method was based on close reading, the par excellence interpretive key tool of New Criticism, and on a tradition of literary criticism using Rhetorisierung, an interpretive method introduced by German classical scholars at the beginning of the 20th century. In the postmodern era of classical studies the momentum of what is nowadays called New Ritualistic Movement (Kowalzig 2007) is urging most classical scholars to focus on a corrective effort. This effort entails that we should at least add a flare of contextualization to the Bundyan model, or at the most abandon it altogether. The appeal of the "contextual" turn proves to be large. Thus, sketching the principles underlying the two major modern interpretive modes in Pindaric criticism looks as if these two modes represent antithetical poles that almost exclude each another. As a result, the paper focuses on Ol. 12 and selected passages of epinician odes, on which it is attempted to apply the ritualistic interpretive mode in juxtaposition to the Bundyan one. Its goal is to indicate that the best way to approach Pindar's epinician poetry is always to have in mind that our poet is consistently inconsistent, because the hic et nunc of each ode determine and shape the rhetorical devices that the poet has at his disposal and he finally uses in the ode.