The Greek word δείνος, or Deinos, appears in Sophocles’ Ode to Man passage in Antigone. As Sean Dorrance Kelly has written, it can mean strange or uncanny (see Heidegger’s use of the term unheimlich in Being and Time). A terror-instilling thing, the word provides the root for the English term dinosaur, or terrible lizard. But it simultaneously connotes wonder” and awe.

Deinos, then, is both awe-full (awe-filled) and full of awe.

Do we see ourselves that way today? Perhaps the closest we get to that feeling is when we witness some athletic feat so incredible that we doubt even our own eyes.

Last modified on May 19, 2024

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