Superheroes and Hermes?

Something I feel is worth investigating further – primarily because its a crossroads where two separate points in my life converged (not too much like comic books and rhetoric) – is the idea of hermeneutics and rhetoric, applied to superheroes.

There is a term a Greek term: skandalon

According to studlight.org

1. the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick

  1. a trap, snare
  2. any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, (a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling) i.e. a rock which is a cause of stumbling
  3. fig. applied to Jesus Christ, whose person and career were so contrary to the expectations of the Jews concerning the Messiah, that they rejected him and by their obstinacy made shipwreck of their salvation

I am fascinated by definition b and the idea of a stumbling block – a metaphysical stumbling block. I am after something that makes you stop because you nearly tripped over it, you turn around, and you see something you didn’t see before.

About a year ago I began casually reading the published dissertation of my PhD advisor, Dr. Krajewski, entitled: Traveling With Hermes: Hermeneutics and Rhetoric. Hermes was the messenger god for the Greeks but also, in many classical texts, also the god of language. The idea took root in my mind – noted for a return later.

The stumbling block came this past July when reading Grant Morrison’s Supergods (there’s that book again) and during one of his chapters he points out how the influence of Hermes played a key role in the construction of several superheroes: Namor and the Golden Age Flash for certain, but also how this idea proliferated itself through the idea of what comic books were and are.

Its something that I plan to come back and “stumble” over again…worthy of taking note.

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