Chapter

Philosophers and the Benevolence of the Greek Gods

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/9780199577835.003.0007
Philosophers and the Benevolence of the Greek Gods

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It is argued in this chapter that Plato's claim that the gods are good and are responsible only for the good in human life, never for the evil, is almost universally accepted in the philosophical tradition. Arguments for the philosophical view of the benevolence of the gods are based on how philosophers have humans know the existence of the gods; how they describe the actions of the demiurgos and of real or mythical polis and lawmaking gods; what they attribute to the gods individually and as a group, and on the premises of their theories about the origin of belief in the gods. Platonic and other philosophical statements about the benevolence of the gods are then correlated to similar views of the gods expressed in the popular religious tradition.

Keywords: Plato; demiurgos; benevolence of gods; good; evil

Chapter.  14631 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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