Disbelief and Skepticism about Seers

Michael Attyah Flower

in The Seer in Ancient Greece

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520252295
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934009 | DOI:
Disbelief and Skepticism about Seers

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Many Greeks had reservations about their society's dependence on seers. Even someone who sincerely believed in the validity of divination may not have necessarily believed that the particular seer under his employ was especially good at his craft. What the evidence unequivocally shows is that most people throughout antiquity had a belief in the validity and importance of divination. As in all societies that practice divination, the figure of the seer was both respected and ridiculed, but he or she was never wholly dismissed. And even if a particular seer was shown up as a charlatan or a failure, a person could and did take comfort in the conviction that other seers were competent and trustworthy. One really had no choice if one wanted to take advantage of such knowledge and advice as the gods were willing to share.

Keywords: Greek divination; seers; disbelief

Chapter.  9498 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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