Chapter

Divination and Its Range of Influence

Jon D. Mikalson

in Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577835
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723063 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577835.003.0004
Divination and Its Range of Influence

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In Socratic literature divination is a featured return from the gods for ‘service’ to them and helps form the ‘partnership’ of gods and men. Virtually all philosophers except Xenophanes and Epicurus accepted the practice. Socrates practised divination and employed it as proof of the gods' concern for humans, and his own practice was used by his defenders as proof that he had ‘proper respect’ for the gods. Special attention is given to his unique daimonion and to Apollo's oracle as a motivator of his philosophic mission. Separate sections discuss dreams and manteis (soothsayers) as described and used in the philosophic tradition, and the chapter concludes with the argument that divination was a major determinant of elements of ‘service to the gods’ such as sanctuaries, sacrifices, festivals, and other cult activities.

Keywords: divination; Socrates' daimonion; manteis; dreams; Oracle of Apollo; sacrifices; sanctuaries; Socrates

Chapter.  12922 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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