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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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Divination and Its Range of Influence

Divination and Its Range of Influence

(p.110) 3 Divination and Its Range of Influence
Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy

Jon D. Mikalson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In Socratic literature divination is a featured return from the gods for ‘service’ to them and helps form the ‘partnership’ of gods and men. Virtually all philosophers except Xenophanes and Epicurus accepted the practice. Socrates practised divination and employed it as proof of the gods' concern for humans, and his own practice was used by his defenders as proof that he had ‘proper respect’ for the gods. Special attention is given to his unique daimonion and to Apollo's oracle as a motivator of his philosophic mission. Separate sections discuss dreams and manteis (soothsayers) as described and used in the philosophic tradition, and the chapter concludes with the argument that divination was a major determinant of elements of ‘service to the gods’ such as sanctuaries, sacrifices, festivals, and other cult activities.

Keywords:   divination, Socrates' daimonion, manteis, dreams, Oracle of Apollo, sacrifices, sanctuaries, Socrates

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