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Blok, J.H.

Blok, J.H.

Josine Blok, born in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands in 1953. Ph.D. from Leiden University. Professor in Ancient History and Classical Civilization at Utrecht University.

Visitor (1 Februari 2012 – 30 June 2012)

Normative Strategies in Public Discourse in Classical Athens: the Intervention of Human and Divine Law

In my contribution to the NIAS theme group ‘Mass Communication in Classical Antiquity’ convened by Professor Ineke Sluiter, I will focus on the use of normative arguments in discourse strategies leading to political and judicial decisions, and notably on arguments that invoke the binding force of human and divine laws. Behind these arguments lies a notion of reciprocity in the exchange of benefits between humans and gods, which I call the covenant between the polis and the gods.

Directives were introduced that drew their strength from this notion of the covenant, more precisely the directives were an application of the covenant’s binding force to human speech and acts. These directives included:

oaths taken by the major bodies of the polis;

references to obligations to the gods and, where relevant, to humans;

notions of legal precedent, on top of the more general appeal to ‘the law’.

“Perikles’ Citizenship Law: a new perspective” Historia 58 (2009) 141-70

“Gentrifying Genealogy: on the genesis of the Athenian autochthony myth” C. Walde, U. Dill, eds. Antike Mythen. Medien, Transformationen, Konstruktionen. Fritz Graf zum 65. Geburtstag  (Berlin 2009) 251-75

“Deme accounts and the meaning of hosios money in fifth-century Athens” Mnemosyne 63 (2010) 61-93