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Open Access Did The Greeks Believe In Their Gods?

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Did The Greeks Believe In Their Gods?

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Chapter Summary

For reasons of space and convenience this paper restricts the discussion to the ancient Greek context of the issue of 'belief/believe'. The double meaning of the term is perhaps best rendered by English 'acknowledge'. The paper &t;reopens the discussion of key terms of the Socratic indictment, such as 'worship' and 'belief ', from the point of view of Athenian religiosity,&t; hence focuses on the famous charge against Socrates. The two basic tenets which, in the domain of classical studies, have paved the way toward this strange idea, become apparent. One is that Greek religion was ritualistic to such a degree that in fact ritual was the essence of their religion, while 'belief ' was more or less negligible. The other is the near-paranoid fear of imposing Christianizing assumptions on foreign religions in general and on Greek religion in particular, as already noticed in the earlier studies.

Keywords: ancient Greek; belief; Christian; religion; Socrates; worship



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