Divinity and History: The Religion of Herodotus

Divinity and History: The Religion of Herodotus

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by Thomas Harrison
     
 

Critics of Herodotus have generally shown an unease in the face of the religious passages of the Histories, a sense that he 'lets himself down' by delving into matters irrelevant to the proper purpose of history. They have tended consequently to latch on to isolated instances of scepticism in an attempt to vindicate Herodotus from imagined charges of obscurantism.

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Overview

Critics of Herodotus have generally shown an unease in the face of the religious passages of the Histories, a sense that he 'lets himself down' by delving into matters irrelevant to the proper purpose of history. They have tended consequently to latch on to isolated instances of scepticism in an attempt to vindicate Herodotus from imagined charges of obscurantism. Historians of Greek religion, on the other hand, by their concentration on ritual as the central feature of Greek religious experience, have often neglected the value of literary sources as evidence of religious belief; indeed the term belief has become something of a dirty word. In this book, the first full-length study of the subject in English, Dr Harrison not only places Herodotus' religious beliefs at the centre of his conception of history, but - by seeing instances of scepticism and of belief in relation to one another, and by the use of analogy from anthropological literature - also redresses the recent emphasis on the centrality of ritual.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198152910
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
09/21/2000
Series:
Oxford Classical Monographs Series
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Divinity and History
2. Solon and Human Fortune
3. Miracles and the Miraculous
4. Divine Retribution
5. Oracles and Divination
6. The Unity and Multiplicity of the Divine
7. The Limits of Knowledge and Inquiry
8. Foreign Gods and Foreign Religion
9. Fate and Human Responsibility
10. Epilogue

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