‘Proper Respect for the Gods’ and ‘Religious Correctness’

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:
‘Proper Respect for the Gods’ and ‘Religious Correctness’

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This chapter argues that eusebeia (‘proper respect’) and hosiotes (‘religious correctness’) are not, as often claimed, synonyms for ‘piety’, but refer to different aspects of ‘service to the gods’. First religious behaviours and actions are divided into those ‘religiously correct’ and those ‘properly respectful’. Then three distinctions are drawn between ‘proper respect’ and ‘religious correctness’. The ‘honouring the gods’ aspect of ‘proper respect’ is emphasized. It is noted that Plato treats only ‘religious correctness’, and not ‘proper respect’, as a virtue, and the reasons for this are explored. Sophrosyne (‘sound thinking’) is found to be the cause of both. The rewards from these include health, safety in war, success in agriculture and fertility, and many other human endeavours, but also include a bond of reciprocal favours (charis) with the gods and their affection.

Keywords: eusebeia; hosiotes; charis; sophrosyne; piety; Plato

Chapter.  19363 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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