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3. Categories, Data, Paradigms

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses religious categories (myths and rituals) in the order in which they represent the main axes of a religious system: participants in communication, time and setting, and means of communication. Greek deities have been studied as individuals and individual hypostaseis, as well as groups and classes of deities, such as Homeric Gods, the Twelve Olympians, Chthonic deities and Hero-Gods. In the study of Aiginetan deities, the author refrains from using such broad labels, focusing instead on the local particulars in the characterization of each. The psychoanalytical paradigm, grouped together with the biological ethology because both see the roots of religious practice in human physiology, is perhaps the weakest in contemporary studies of Greek religion, but it makes an occasional appearance, especially in the interpretation of mythological texts, and readily springs to the minds of scholars whenever they deal with myths that describe violent and tragic family relationships.

Keywords: Aiginetan deities; biological ethology; Greek myths; Greek religion; Greek rituals; Homeric Gods; psychoanalytical paradigm



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