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Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy$
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Jon D. Mikalson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577835

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577835.001.0001

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(p.242) Appendix: Polling the Greeks and Their Philosophers

(p.242) Appendix: Polling the Greeks and Their Philosophers

Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy
Oxford University Press

Collected in the Appendix are, first, statements, drawn especially from Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle, of what ‘all’, ‘most’, the majority of, or ‘many’ of the Greeks or even ‘all’ human beings believed in religious matters. Examples are, ‘All ask the gods to turn away things that are bad and to give things that are good,’ and ‘Some, not many, believe that the gods exist but take no thought of human affairs.’ A second section describes the apparent prioritization of religious matters by philosophers, as when Plato in the Laws ranks the individuals deserving honour as follows: first Olympian and city‐upholding gods, then chthonic gods, then heroes, then traditional family deities, then living parents, and, finally dead parents. Similarly sacrifices are ranked before prayers, and both before dedications. Plato once states ‘reason’ and once states ‘divination’ as the greatest thing the gods give humans.

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