Friday, June 18, 2021


Religious Knowledge

Herodotus 2.3.2 (tr. J. Enoch Powell):
Now the narratives which I heard concerning the gods I am not zealous to rehearse, excepting their names alone; for I hold that all men's knowledge of them is equal.

τὰ μέν νυν θεῖα τῶν ἀπηγημάτων οἷα ἤκουον οὐκ εἰμὶ πρόθυμος ἐξηγέεσθαι, ἔξω ἢ τὰ οὐνόματα αὐτῶν μοῦνον, νομίζων πάντας ἀνθρώπους ἴσον περὶ αὐτῶν ἐπίστασθαι.
Equal to zero, I thought when I read this, and I find that my thought was anticipated by David Asheri et al., A Commentary on Herodotus, Books I-IV (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 244:
i.e. all men have equal lack of knowledge of them.
Both occurrences of αὐτῶν are masculine plural, in the judgement of Alan B. Lloyd, Herodotus, Book II: Commentary 1-98, 2nd ed. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 17, and Powell's "them" should be understood as gods, not names.

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