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Ensuring Ritual Competence In Ancient Greece. A Negotiable Matter: Religious Specialist

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Chapter Summary

Anyone is good enough to be a priest", claimed the Attic orator Isocrates in the 4th century BCE, and meant that the functions of the priestly office required no particular talent, in contrast to the office of a King. The same criticism and mistrust of the role of ritual specialists in ancient Greek cults, which one can detect in this statement, can be observed in the research literature since the publishing of Jules Martha's book on the Athenian priesthood in 1882. Religious matters were thus considered political and were supervised as such, since only the orderly course of religious life could guarantee an orderly course of individual life for the politai and the politeia. This chapter traces some answers concerning the profile of a Greek priest as well as the interactions between the religious specialists, the cult participants and the community as a whole.

Keywords: Greek priest; Jules Martha; religious life; sacrificial ritual



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