Religion In Ancient Greece - Ancient Greek Culture and Civilization

Topics: Worship, Ancient Greece, God Pages: 27 (9537 words) Published: March 1, 2014
Religion In Ancient Greece - Ancient Greek Culture and Civilization Excerpts taken from:

1. Greek Myths
2. Mythology Distinguished from Religion
3. Local Shrines
4. Epithets of the Gods
5. Nature of the Gods of Worship
6. Relation of Greek Gods to Nature
7. The Greater Gods of Greece
8. Nature Gods
9. Gods of Human Activities and Emotions
1. Omens
2. Divination by Sacrifice
3. Dreams
4. Oracles
1. Shrines
2. Temples
3. Priests
4. Seasons of Worship:
5. Elements of Worship
6. Prayer
7. Burnt Offering, or Sacrificial Meal
8. Meaning of Sacrifice
9. Propitiatory Sacrifice
10. Purification
11. The Great Religious Festivals
12. Mysteries at Eleusis
13. Absence of Magic and Mystery
1. Funeral Rites
2. Future Life in the Homeric Poems
3. Later Beliefs in Immortality
1. Greek Idea of Sin
2. Religious Ideals
1. Greek Philosophy and Christian Theology
2. Greek Influence on Christian Liturgy
3. Greek Influence on the Sacraments
I. The Greek Gods.
1. Greek Myths:
The gods of ancient Greece are well known to our western civilization through the myths which have found so large a place in our literature. In Greece itself, fancy had free play in dealing with these divine beings, and the myths were the main treasure-house from which the poet drew; the same myths and the same gods, under different names, reappear in Rome; and Rome passed them on, a splendid heritage of imagination, to the literatures of later Europe. It is characteristic of myths that they deal with persons, not so different from men in their nature, but with more than human powers. Gods, nymphs and satyrs, noble "heroes" or evil spirits have superhuman powers in varying degree, but they remain persons with a human interest because of their human type. And, further, as men are organized in families, cities and states, so there is a tendency to organize the beings of myth into social groups, and even to bring men, heroes and gods together into one large social organism, the universe of persons. These Greek myths, the story of Athena's birth full-armed from the brain of Zeus, of Circe's magic potion, of Poseidon's chariot on the waves, and of Apollo's shafts are familiar to us from childhood. To regard them as expressing the content of Greek religion is as natural as it is false. Very few myths have any religious meaning at all, in spite of the large part the gods play in them. A little comparison with the facts of worship serves to show that here the gods are quite different from the gods of story. 2. Mythology Distinguished from Religion:

Some of the gods hardly appear in myths, and some of the beings of myth are not worshipped; in worship, each god is for the time being the only god thought of, not a member of the hierarchy established in myth; moreover in myth the gods are treated as universal, while the gods of worship are most closely attached, each to one shrine. Along with these external differences goes the one essential difference between a being of story and an object of worship. The failure to recognize the deep meaning of Greek religion results from the superficial assumption that myths constitute a peculiar kind of theology, when in reality they teach but little, and that, indirectly, about religion proper. 3. Local Shrines:

The essential fact about the gods of Greek religion is that each god was worshipped in a unique form at one or another particular shrine by a group of worshippers more or less definite. The group might include the state, the dwellers in one locality or...
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