Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker:
Perhaps the most fascinating thing here is the insistence that singing the song isn’t enough to help the supplicant who is in a crisis situation. It’s also essential to understand what the lyrics really mean. The Derveni author gets most irate when describing those who turn to other musical ritualists for enlightenment, for “they go away after having performed [the rites] before they have attained knowledge, without even asking further questions.”
So we are left with the surprising fact that not only is the oldest book in Europe about music criticism, but that this is not a trivial detail or mere happenstance. In this time and place, knowing the meaning of a song could be a matter of grave importance (no pun intended). Or even more to the point—the effects of making a wrong choice could last into the afterlife. Was there ever a music fan who made a more extreme claim for a favorite song?