"Historic region, the extent of which has varied greatly since ancient times, situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in southwestern Asia. Palestine is now largely divided between Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories, parts of which are self-administered by Palestinians" [Microsoft Encarta].







Pallas Athene

"Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. She was the favorite child of Zeus. She had sprung fully grown out of her father's head. Her mother was Metis , goddess of wisdom and Zeus' first wife. In fear that Metis would bear a son mightier than himself. Zeus swallowed her and she began to make a robe and helmet for her daughter. The hammering of the helmet caused Zeus great pain in the form of headaches and he cried out in agony. Skilled Hephaestus ran to his father and split his skull open and from it emerged Athena, fully grown and wearing her mother's robe and helmet. She is the virgin mother of Erichthnonius" [Encyclopedia Mythica].








Greek god of shepherds; a primary nature deity.








The belief that the divine is infused in/coextensive with nature itself.







"Parable of the Sower"

One of Christ's most famous parables, recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew (13: 18-23):

[18] Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
[19] When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
[20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
[21 ] Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
[22 ] He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
[23] But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.








Post-structuralist term for criticism (and theory) which aspires to become itself a form of literature.








Thomas Kuhn's term (in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) for the status quo, prevailing, largely unquestioned (by normal science) model of scientific reality that governs any particular epoch. In the Copernican Revolution, the Ptolemaic/geocentric paradigm was replaced by a heliocentric paradigm.







Paradise Lost

Seventeenth-Century epic poem by John Milton, intended to "justify the ways of God to man" by retelling the story of the fall of man








"Mountain, central Greece, rising to an altitude of 2457 m (8061 ft). In Greek mythology, Parnassus was sacred to the god Apollo, whose oracle, Delphi, was situated at its base. It was also believed to be a favorite habitation of the Muses and a center of musical and poetic inspiration. Parnassus was also the site of worship of the gods Pan and Dionysus" [Microsoft Encarta].








"From the Greek meaning 'a being present' or an 'arrival.' Although the term was used by Plato to refer to the presence of the form of a thing, the Parousia is usually taken to refer to the return of Christ, his 'arrival' and his 'presence' on earth" [Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion].








A knight of King Arthur's roundtable who, in several versions of Arthurian legend, discovers the grail.







participation mystique

Levy-Bruhl's term for the pervasive belief of "primitive" man that his thought processes actively take part in nature itself.







pathetic fallacy

John Ruskin's term for "the attribution of animate or human characteristics to nature, as, especially, when rocks, trees, or weather are portrayed as reacting in sympathy to human feelings of events."








Wife of Odysseus and a major figure in Homer's Odyssey.








"The son of Echion and Agave, king of Thebes. He resisted against the introduction of the Dionysic cult, and was torn to pieces by his own mother and other Bacchae in their frenzy, mistaking him for a wild animal" [Encyclopedia Mythica]







Perennial Philosophy (Philosophia Perennis)

"[T]he metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality behind the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in man something identical with divine  Reality and the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the Immanent and Transcendent Ground of all things" [Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy].








In Greek mythology, the daughter of Demeter; her abduction by Hades gave rise to the seasons.








Greek mythic hero who tamed Pegasus and slays Medusa.







Personal Knowledge

Michael Polanyi's major book (published in 1964), highly critical of the false objectivity and "unbridled lucidity" of modern science, subtitled "Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy."








School in philosophy and psychology, founded by Edmund Husserl, that argued against the priority of abstract thought and sought to establish the intellect as an aspect of human embodiment and lived experience.








"Philomela and Procne were the daughters of King Pandion of Athens. Procne was married to King Tereus of Thrace (one of the sons of Ares), and had a son by him, Itys. Tereus conceived an illicit passion for Philomela and contrived to get her sent to Thrace; he raped her, and then cut her tongue out and imprisoned her so that she could tell no one of his crime. However, Philomela wove a tapestry which revealed the facts of the matter to Procne. In order to get revenge, Procne killed Itys and cooked him, so that Tereus ate his own son for dinner" [Encyclopedia Mythica].







The Philosophy of Freedom

Rudolf Steiner's first major work, published in 1894, containing the germ of all his future philosophy. Also published under the title The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.








In biology the development of a species (as opposed to ontogenesis, the development of the individual).








An ancient pseudo-science, recently rediscovered, that sought to read the character of an individual from careful scrutiny of his physical appearance.








"[L]anguage based on another language, but with a sharply curtailed vocabulary (often 700 to 2000 words) and grammar; native to none of its speakers; and used as a lingua franca, or a language used as a means of communication between peoples with different native languages. Pidgins develop when people who speak different languages are brought together and forced to develop a means of communication without having sufficient time to learn each other's native languages" [Microsoft Encarta].







Pilgrim's Progress

John Bunyan's allegory (published in 1678, 1684) about Christian's search for salvation.







The Pilgrim's Regress

C. S. Lewis' 1933 book, his first major prose work, subtitled "An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism."







Piltdown Man

"Famous scientific hoax involving the supposed discovery near Piltdown, England, of an apelike fossil ancestral to modern humans. Reported in 1912, the discovery included fragments of what were later proved to be a modern human cranium and the jawbone of an ape" [Microsoft Encarta].







Plains Indians

Any of the Indian tribes (the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Pawnee, etc.) occupying the Great Plains of the American West.







Platonic dialogues

See Socratic dialogue.







"The Poet"

1844 essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson which issued a call for a distinctly American poet. Among the essays most memorable ideas is Emerson's observation that 1) "all language is fossil poetry" and 2) "poetry was all written before time was."







Poetry Language Thought

Collection of essays by Martin Heidegger on the relationship between poetry and thought.







Politics of Experience

1967 book by R. D. Laing famous for its argument that schizophrenia is the result of  cultural causes.








Capable of multiple meanings or interpretations.








The cultural style / mindset / sensibility (self-referentiality, intertextuality, an acute awareness of the "already said" (Eco), pastiche) of the late 20th Century.








Those critical theories/methods (including deconstruction) which developed out of structuralism in its late phase.








The belief, common to the Puritans, that individuals are pre-ordained to either salvation ("the elect") or damnation.







The Prelude

Long autobiographical poem by William Wordsworth.








Those Greek philosophers who came before Socrates: Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, etc.







The Problem of Pain

1940 book by C. S. Lewis.







production rules

In structural linguistics, especially in the work of Chomsky, the unstated, largely unconscious protocols that govern the generation of sentences in a given language.







progress of poetry

A recurring debate in the history of literary criticism over whether or not poetry has improved or deteriorated during the development of civilization.








"[T]he son of Iapetus who was one of the Titans. He tricked the gods into eating bare bones instead of good meat. He stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the gods. Prometheus did not tell Zeus the prophecy that one of Zeus's sons will overthrow him. In punishment, Zeus commanded that Prometheus be chained for eternity in the Caucasus. There, an eagle (or, according to other sources, a vulture) would eat his liver, and each day the liver would be renewed. So the punishment was endless, until Heracles finally killed the bird" [Encyclopedia Mythica].








In Shakespeare's The Tempest, the aging magician, shipwrecked on a desert island, who is the play's central character. The father of Miranda, he is the master of fairy spirit Ariel and the tamer of native monster Caliban.







pro tanto

Latin meaning "for so much or for so many."








"[A] prophetic sea divinity, son of either Poseidon or Oceanus. He usually stays on the Island of Pharos, near Egypt, where he herds the seals of Poseidon. He will foretell the future to those who can seize him, but when caught he assumes all possible varying forms to avoid prophesying" [Encyclopedia Mythica].








"The personification of the human soul. In the well-known fable of the Roman writer Apuleius (ca. 125 - ca. 180), Psyche is the youngest of three daughters. She was of such extraordinary beauty that Aphrodite herself became jealous of her. The goddess then sent her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly man. However, the god himself fell in love with the girl and visited her every night, but forbade her to see his face, so she did not know who her lover was. On her sisters' instigation she tried to discover the true identity of her beloved. When he lay asleep in her bed, she lit an oil lamp but when she bent over to see Eros' face, a drop of oil from her lamp fell on him and he awakened. When he noticed her intent, he left her. Psyche wandered the earth in search of her lover, until she was finally reunited with him" [Encyclopedia Mythica].








Involving both mind and body.







Ptolemaic/Aristotelian universe

The geocentric view of the cosmos, formulated by the likes of the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy and the Greek philosopher Aristotle,  which remained received wisdom from ancient times until its overthrow in the Copernican Revolution of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.








An English Victorian periodical known for its satire.