Although geographically and historically far apart ancient Greece and Indigenous Australia present an amazing array of similarities in their underlying hierophanies even though the two cultures have great differences.
At their core storytelling, with Ancient Greek myths based upon and reflecting the all-embracing reality of Physis (Nature), while the innumerable Indigenous Australian ‘dreamings’ signify the all-encompassing nexus of what has been dubbed the ‘Dreaming’.
Most significantly, the Hellenic philosophical dialectics between ‘Being’ and ‘Becoming’ find their experiential equivalent in the Indigenous dialectics between the ‘Visible’ and the ‘Invisible’ beliefs of the Indigenous Peoples.
An event co-hosted by the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney and the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens presented by Dr Vassilis Adrahtas aims to connect the dots between the two worlds on Wednesday, 8 March.
Perhaps even more importantly, according to Dr Adrahtas, those similarities present themselves in narrative, song, dancing, music and art, all of them serve so profusely both worldviews and their respective everyday practices.
Dr Adrahtas holds a PhD in Studies in Religion (USyd) and a PhD in the Sociology of Religion (Panteion University, Athens). He teaches Islamic Studies at Western Sydney University and Ancient Greek Religion and Myth at UNSW. His specialisation is in Early Christianity, Patristics, Byzantine Philosophy, Islamic Studies, Ancient Greek Religions and Indigenous Australian Religions. Dr Adrahtas’ Studies in Religions PhD thesis is titled Prophecy Dreamings: Hermeneutic Approaches to Some Instances of Indigenous Syncretism in Post/Colonial Australia. His most recent publication is Islam, Civility and Political Culture (Palgrave Macmillan 2021; co-ed. with Milad Milani).
During this presentation he aims to showcase the remarkable instances where “the quintessence of Indigenous Australia can be captured through the connotations of the Greek word topos, which means that the Hellenic worldview with all its mythological emphasis on this or that city-state locality resonates quite well with the fundamental Indigenous focus on site, place, country or land, through their respective dreaming performances”.
According to Dr Adrahtas, the divergences between the two life-words on issues of temporality, transcendence, corporeality and individuality are more an occasion for reflection on human unity than a matter of cultural clash, incompatibility or incommensurability. In any case, the distinctiveness of both worlds remains as the ultimate background of the existential cross hatchings that we are called to draw over and over again.
When: Wednesday, 8 March at 6pm
Where: on Zoom and on campus at the University of Sydney, CCANESA Boardroom, Madsen Building, Camperdown, NSW
This is a free event. To watch online or register, visit https://bit.ly/3y0B95H