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Apollonian and Dionysian
(131 words)

[German Version]

are terms first attested in F.W.J.Schelling (Philosophy of Revelation, posthum. 1858) for the nature of the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. The comparison of the two gods and the arts ascribed to them plays a role already in Plato (Polit. 398c–400c; Nomoi 652a–674c) and is taken up in a manner suited to modern times in F. Nietzsche. According to the explanations in his book on the Geburt der Tragödie (1872; ET: The Birth of Tragedy, 1927), apollonian stands for the limiting, individuating principle of graphic art, while dionysian designates the rapturou…

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Figal, Günter, “Apollonian and Dionysian”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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