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Canon Vs. Culture by Jan Groak

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The Origin of the Concept of a Canon and Its Application to the Greek and Latin Classics

GEORGE A. KENNEDY

Canon formation is a natural human instinct, an attempt to impose order on multiplicity, to judge what is best out of many options, and to preserve traditional knowledge and values against the erosion of time and influences from outside the culture. Canons reflect the conservative, hierarchical structure of traditional societies. In oral cultures, some songs and myths attain greater authority than others. Probably this originates in the popularity of a bard or a song that is then perpetuated by priests or chiefs in the interests of cultural continuity and social control. The authority of these oral canons is regularly supported by a claim ...

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