O imperativo ético da hospitalidade no modelo educativo homérico

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Attributed since Antiquity to the authorship of Homer, and modernly recognised also as the result of the slow creative elaboration of generations of aoidoi, the Iliad and the Odyssey articulate in an enigmatic poetic plot, from their traditional nature, threads of mythical narratives and historical realities that modern archaeological researches do not fail to confirm. Centred in the elementary theme of the Trojan War, the two poems tried to explain how, at a peculiarly relevant point in the history of humanity, the unfortunate mortals, sometimes individually moved by their own impulses, sometimes collectively coerced by external forces, unleash with their guilt and misery an unprecedented war offensive. The ancient Greek worldview believed that this was the scenario chosen by divine caprice to alleviate the excessive weight of the earth, granted to men as a provisional dwelling. In this context of tormented upheaval, the sacred principle of hospitality (ξενία) stands out in Homer’s poetic legacy with undisputable relevance in the hierarchy of human values: inspired and guaranteed by the superior divine vigilance, it ensured in the ancient world, especially to those to whom painful circumstances forced some kind of fragility (exile, orphanhood, poverty...), the solidary support of the strongest. Occurring then as the most basic manifestation of respect, not only for the divinity (which distributes goods) but also for humanity (which receives them), hospitality was based on an effort of solidarity and balance between men, which we continue to see mirrored throughout all stages of history, and remains alive in the social dynamics of contemporaneity, in the constant dualities of identity and otherness, of welcome and rejection. Within this peculiar narrative framework of the two Homeric Poems, the first literary documents of the West, it seemed particularly suggestive to us to propose the theme of hospitality as a primordial antecedent of the ethical imperative of justice, which is promoted by education and based on the respect for otherness of the most basic human rights.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationEducação, justiça e direitos humanos
Subtitle of host publicationnum mundo em transformação
EditorsCarlos V. Estêvão, José Manuel Martins Lopes, Ana Paula Pinto, Artur Ilharco Galvão, João Carlos Onofre Pinto, Maria José Ferreira Lopes, Paulo C. Dias
Place of PublicationBraga
PublisherAxioma - Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9789726973652
ISBN (Print)9789726973645
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameAxioma Series in Pedagogy and Philosophy of Education
ISSN (Print)2975-8378
ISSN (Electronic)2975-9315


  • Ethical imperative
  • Homeric educational mode
  • Homeric poems
  • Hospitality

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