Thursday, January 28, 2016


The Essence of Greek Religion

C.M. Bowra (1898-1971), "Recent Homeric Studies," Sewanee Review 63.2 (April-June, 1955) 337-343 (at 340):
The essence of Greek religion is its assumption that gods and men belong to a single world, that they resemble one another in many important respects, even if the gods live forever and enjoy eternal youth, that relations between them can be those of human friendship with its loyalties and obligations, that the best things in life are those in which men come close, if only for a moment, to the felicity of the gods.
George Santayana (1863-1952), Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1922), p. 63:
To the Greek, in so far as he was a Greek, religion was an aspiration to grow like the gods by invoking their companionship, rehearsing their story, feeling vicariously the glow of their splendid prerogatives, and placing them, in the form of beautiful and very human statues, constantly before his eyes.
Related post: Men and Gods.

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