Comedy and Religion in Classical Athens: Narratives of Religious Experiences in Aristophanes' Wealth
A detailed study of how Aristophanes manipulates traditional narratives of important religious experiences (oracles, healings, epiphanies) to engage with the religious discourse of his time, with a particular focus on the comedy Wealth. This book opens up a new perspective on Aristophanic drama and its relationship to Greek religion.
This book opens up a new perspective on Aristophanic drama and its relationship to Greek religion. It focuses on the comedy Wealth, whose fantasy of universal enrichment is structured upon a rich and largely unexplored framework of traditional stories of Greek religious experiences, such as oracles, miracle cures, and the introduction of new gods. The book examines the form and function of these stories, and explores how the playwright adapts them for his own comic purposes, grounding his comic fantasy on stories of philanthropic divinities who dependably respond to the needs of their worshippers. The collaboration of these deities, who act in tandem with their worshippers, achieves the comic fantasy. Francisco Barrenechea also addresses the larger question of how comedy participated in the religion of its time by imagining and dramatizing beliefs, and reveals the salutary bond that can exist between humor and religion in general.