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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to trace the Egyptian share in the formation of Hellenistic aretalogy, concentrating specifically on the role of cult practice in this process. 'Miracle' and 'wonder', arete and thauma, could consequently be used practically as synonyms for the supernatural intervention of a deity. Both, then, are regarded as constitutive elements of aretalogy, as reporting on this intervention was apparently not only the task of the inscribed stelai, but that of the aretalogoi as well. The miraculous intervention of the god(s) could be experienced not only as the unexpected deliverance from a seemingly desperate situation, but also as an unexpected coercion of blasphemers and evildoers. The actual and essential core of any aretalogy, was an event occurring against all expectation, lying outside human experience, and effecting a sudden, radical change in the state of affairs, all of which obviously manifested the arete of some divinity.

Keywords: Egyptian share; Greek texts; Hellenistic aretalogy



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