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Author Topic: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion  (Read 12665 times)

Haganrix

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2011, 03:12:01 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;7071
Philosophy had worn away traditional polytheistic belief among the elite, and Christianity appealed to poor people because of its message of salvation and a blessed afterlife after a miserable life. Traditional Greek religion did not have very developed ideas about the afterlife, and what ideas they did have about it were very bleak. It was also pretty impersonal, as the gods required piety and respect, but not personal affection or salvation.



This is not about Julian or Saloustios, is it? Julians letters are full of personal piety and devotion to Helios-Apollon to whom he compared Attis. In his oration on King Helios you definitely find his notion of the afterlife. Or just take a look into chapter XXI, par. 1 of Saloustios treatize "On the Gods and the Cosmos". To maintain the Neoplatonists had no developed ideas about the afterlife is definitely wrong.

Thus the Platonic Academy in Athens was closed by an edict and command of Justianian and depropriated in the year 529. Even before in 391 the Serapeum in Alexandria was rushed and destroyed by christian violence. If you shouldn't know about the latter, look the film Agora by Alejandro Amenabar with Raquel Weisz as Hypatia. There was no 'slight shifting' but quite a lot of brutal violence. And the same happened to the Delphic Oracle that was destroyed by the christians who killed all people inside. Really never heard about that?

Haganrix

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2011, 03:31:19 pm »
Quote from: kallimahos;6846


What is the reason behind their struggle? It is because Ideals are timeless and most pieces of their idealistic puzzle are 'borrowed' from the Hellenic tradition. Yet they refuse to accept this, claiming uniqueness and originality as the only true religion Greeks have ever known.

Thus, their fear lies in their anathema.....




I agree with you, but furthermore I would not speak of "borrowing". A borrower does not deny that another person had lent him something. But if one pretends a borrowed thing as his own, in spirituality and philosophy as uniqueness and original, he is a liar and swindler.

Astani

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2011, 02:33:10 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;7071
Traditional Greek religion did not have very developed ideas about the afterlife, and what ideas they did have about it were very bleak.

 
How is the traditional Greek religious idea about the afterlife any less developed than that of Christianity?

Haganrix

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2011, 11:16:10 am »
Quote from: Astani;7314
How is the traditional Greek religious idea about the afterlife any less developed than that of Christianity?

 
Astani, I agree with you as far as the teachings of Pythagoras and Plato and of course their followers are concerned. But what about the general "common sentiment"?

Astani

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2011, 05:13:29 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;7379
Astani, I agree with you as far as the teachings of Pythagoras and Plato and of course their followers are concerned. But what about the general "common sentiment"?

 
I have no idea what the common sentiment was which is why I asked. I thought that it was common knowledge to everyone Hellenic back then that they'd go to the Underworld, pay Charon, be judged, then sent on your merry way, etc. I could be way wrong though.

But I honestly don't see Christianity's views of the afterlife as any more advanced than any of the religions at the time. You die, you get judged, etc, then you either go to heaven, purgatory, or hell. Is there more to it than that?

Haganrix

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2011, 11:09:32 am »
Quote from: Astani;7463
I have no idea what the common sentiment was which is why I asked. I thought that it was common knowledge to everyone Hellenic back then that they'd go to the Underworld, pay Charon, be judged, then sent on your merry way, etc. I could be way wrong though.

But I honestly don't see Christianity's views of the afterlife as any more advanced than any of the religions at the time. You die, you get judged, etc, then you either go to heaven, purgatory, or hell. Is there more to it than that?


For the Pythagoreans rebirth was a merit for a virtuous life. According to the philosophy of Plato the souls had chosen for their physical life in the beyond. By Julian and Saloustios the metempsychosis (and rebirth) was dependent on a souls previous life on earth. In opposite to that the christians had rejected the metemspychosis in 325 on the council of Nicäa. For that reason a failed soul has no chance to improve in a second or any following life on the christian concept. But on the Hellenist path a soul can liberate itself throughout its reincarnations. There is hope in our afterlife!

drekfletch

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2011, 11:41:16 am »
Quote from: Haganrix;7687
But on the Hellenist path a soul can liberate itself throughout its reincarnations. There is hope in our afterlife!

 
I thought we just existed in the underworld as memoryless spirit-things.  In the lore anyway.  My concept of the soul is different and non-historical.
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Haganrix

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2011, 12:28:12 pm »
Quote from: drekfletch;7703
I thought we just existed in the underworld as memoryless spirit-things.  In the lore anyway.  My concept of the soul is different and non-historical.

With Homer I suggest. But this is quite different according to the teaching of Plato where in the beyond the immortal soul has the entire knowlege. It rather depends on which lore lore you are following.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 12:28:51 pm by Haganrix »

Astani

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2011, 06:40:07 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;7687
But on the Hellenist path a soul can liberate itself throughout its reincarnations. There is hope in our afterlife!

 
Dang, that's cool. But then there's also many opportunities for a soul to be corrupted throughout its reincarnations.

DashesAgainst

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2011, 07:06:06 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;7687
But on the Hellenist path a soul can liberate itself throughout its reincarnations. There is hope in our afterlife!

 
Liberate itself to what, becoming a minor deity?
"Of all the rest of mankind, make him your friend who distinguishes himself by his virtue." - The Golden Verses of Pythagoras

Nyktelios

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2011, 07:37:49 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;7156
This is not about Julian or Saloustios, is it? Julians letters are full of personal piety and devotion to Helios-Apollon to whom he compared Attis. In his oration on King Helios you definitely find his notion of the afterlife. Or just take a look into chapter XXI, par. 1 of Saloustios treatize "On the Gods and the Cosmos". To maintain the Neoplatonists had no developed ideas about the afterlife is definitely wrong.


Neoplatonism was a very late development in terms of Greek civilization, and Julian was a Roman hellenophile who idealized Greek polytheism during the decline of paganism. His version of paganism was quite different than traditional Greek polytheism from before Roman conquest. I don't doubt Julian's piety was sincere, but I don't see him as being as relevant to modern Hellenic polytheism as some people want to make him seem. Many foreign gods were worshipped in Rome at his time, and Neoplatonism does not represent the the views of the majority. Plato lived near the end of the Classical Period, and only the intellectual elite were familiar with his unorthodox take on cosmology. It has no relevance for how early Greek religion developed from the Archaic Period to the Classical. My opinion is that Platonic philosophy was the ancient Greek equivalent of the modern New Age movement or the celebrity fascination with Kabbalah. It was something the well-off people pursued as an alternative to traditional religion, though traditional worship was still popular with the common people.
 
Quote from: Astani;7314
How is the traditional Greek religious idea about the afterlife any less developed than that of Christianity?

 
Well, Greek ideas about the afterlife were so varied, there wasn't really a consensus about what happened after death. Generally speaking, they believed in the Underworld ruled by Hades, which was a gloomy place where the shades of dead people wandered around aimlessly for eternity. Some believed in Elysion and Tartaros, some believed dead souls inhabited beans and were reborn when a woman got pregnant by eating those beans. The more alternative cults and philosophical movements believed in the transmigration of souls, but it wasn't a common idea in ancient Greece.

It was a contrast to a culture like Egypt, where the majority of people did believe in a specific afterlife, the paradise of Osiris. Unlike the commonly gloomy conception of the afterlife in Greece, Egyptians believed that the world of the dead was an idealized version of the world of the living. This is probably why the Isis cult experienced popularity in the Greco-Roman world, and Christianity was probably embraced because it was similar to the foreign cults and philosophical schools that were popular during the Roman period, long after the glory days of the Hellenic civilization, which by then was just a Roman province.

There were a lot of social and political changes going on at the time, it wasn't like Hellenic civilization was eternally glorious until the evil Christians came and destroyed everything. It had long since peaked and declined by the time Christianity came around, and Rome was the major power, which extended so far, later Roman culture became such a mix of many different things. Most of the later Roman emperors weren't even Italian and hadn't even been to Italy. My personal opinion is that another reason Christianity was embraced by Roman emperors after Constantine (except for everyone's hero, the pretty insignificant Julian), was that it offered a way to unite the empire under one God and one faith, rather than maintaining the chaotic open system of paganism as the empire expanded to include many foreign lands and new gods.

Melamphoros

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2011, 07:49:41 pm »
Quote from: Haganrix;7687
For the Pythagoreans rebirth was a merit for a virtuous life. According to the philosophy of Plato the souls had chosen for their physical life in the beyond. By Julian and Saloustios the metempsychosis (and rebirth) was dependent on a souls previous life on earth. In opposite to that the christians had rejected the metemspychosis in 325 on the council of Nicäa. For that reason a failed soul has no chance to improve in a second or any following life on the christian concept. But on the Hellenist path a soul can liberate itself throughout its reincarnations. There is hope in our afterlife!

 
In addition to what Carnelian said, those who subscribed to the teachings of the philosophers were a minority in Ancient Greece.


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Astani

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2011, 08:07:41 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;7828

It was a contrast to a culture like Egypt, where the majority of people did believe in a specific afterlife, the paradise of Osiris. Unlike the commonly gloomy conception of the afterlife in Greece, Egyptians believed that the world of the dead was an idealized version of the world of the living. This is probably why the Isis cult experienced popularity in the Greco-Roman world, and Christianity was probably embraced because it was similar to the foreign cults and philosophical schools that were popular during the Roman period, long after the glory days of the Hellenic civilization, which by then was just a Roman province.

 
I'm definitely not going to argue about Ancient Egypt's views on the afterlife because I agree with you on that. And I do agree that it was probably because of that that foreign cults were popular in the Roman Empire.

I see that the reason you think Greek thoughts about the afterlife are less developed is because there was basically no consensus about it when compared to the other religions.

And no one is saying that Christians are evil; I was just curious as to why you thought so.

Melamphoros

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2011, 08:11:28 pm »
Quote from: Astani;7833

And no one is saying that Christians are evil; I was just curious as to why you thought so.

 
Wait, when did he call Christians evil:confused:


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Astani

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Re: Modern Human Needs and Hellenic Religion
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2011, 08:39:36 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;7835
Wait, when did he call Christians evil:confused:

I meant "why you thought so" was why he thought that Greek afterlife was less developed. Sorry for that. But he did say it in a sarcastic way which didn't make sense since no one was referring to Christians as evil at all.

EDIT: And by "it" I mean evil Christians. Lol antecedents.

Quote from: Carnelian;7828
There were a lot of social and political changes going on at the time, it wasn't like Hellenic civilization was eternally glorious until the evil Christians came and destroyed everything.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 08:41:00 pm by Astani »

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