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Author Topic: Interpretatio graeca, Interpretatio romana, and soft polytheism  (Read 1727 times)

MattyG

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Interpretatio graeca, Interpretatio romana, and soft polytheism
« on: November 28, 2014, 05:43:49 pm »
I'm curious as to how modern Hellenic and Roman polytheists (whether or not their reconstructionists) tend to think of the practice of interpretatio? Since these practices seem to have been rather widespread throughout both civilizations, it seems like some degree of soft polytheism would make sense for modern practitioners. So, I guess my question is, when you observe the religions of other cultures, do you tend to employ your own interpretatio, or are you more drawn to a hard polytheistic approach?

Louisvillian

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Re: Interpretatio graeca, Interpretatio romana, and soft polytheism
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 07:05:41 am »
Quote from: MattyG;166317
So, I guess my question is, when you observe the religions of other cultures, do you tend to employ your own interpretatio, or are you more drawn to a hard polytheistic approach?

 
We have a much greater and more accurate base of knowledge about myths, practices, and deities of non-Roman and non-Greek civilisations, and a better knowledge about the differences between native Greek and native Roman deities and myths. We have the clarity of decades of research and methodology to demonstrate that certain deities are a lot more distinct than the Romans thought.

For the most part, I tend towards hard polytheism, because I am operating on this current knowledge. However, in some cases, I do indulge in a bit of interpretatio. I believe that Mercury and Hermes are the same guy, for instance.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Interpretatio graeca, Interpretatio romana, and soft polytheism
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 08:08:22 am »
Quote from: MattyG;166317
I'm curious as to how modern Hellenic and Roman polytheists (whether or not their reconstructionists) tend to think of the practice of interpretatio? Since these practices seem to have been rather widespread throughout both civilizations, it seems like some degree of soft polytheism would make sense for modern practitioners. So, I guess my question is, when you observe the religions of other cultures, do you tend to employ your own interpretatio, or are you more drawn to a hard polytheistic approach?

Since I reconstruct Mediterranean religion from the time period 330 BCE - 600 CE, I am definitely a soft polytheist or soft monotheist, although I find these labels misleading and of questionable usefulness. When I think about it, I am rather a soft Panendeist. Plotinus and Proclus are my main inspirations, but I have nothing against Stoicism, Peripatetic philosophy or Neo-Pythagoreanism either.

One side of this view is that the Henadic Sun, the Noetic Sun, the Noetic-Noeric Sun, the Noeric Sun, the Hypercosmic Sun and the Encosmic Sun all belong to the same chain of emanation, but another side of this view is that each of them are able to express themselves as several cultural specific aspects. The same line of thought is applicable to every other chain of emanation, too. It would be obvious for every observer that we only have one Sun in this solar system, eh? Likewise, there are not several different sorts of voltage out there: There are no culturally specific thunderclouds. On the other five levels of existence there are of course other sorts of Zeuses/Jupiters - Jupiter Ammon, for instance, is a considerably more primordial Zeus than the Zeuses lower in the seira.

This is not the same as theogony. The traditional theogonies (although contradicting each other) are still another useful approach, and so is the historical development of the conceptualisation of the deities as researched by historical scholars today (I love M.L. West!). This bring about a three-dimensional matrix-model of the divine, which is more complex than the models held by Paleo-Pagans, but it is very useful as a paradigm for  Neo-Pagans as long as we keep the Platonists insistence on the unknowability of To Hen.

If the Hindus believe that deities are able of expressing themselves in avatars, why should we be hindered to do the same?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 08:09:48 am by RecycledBenedict »

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