Gods in early Greek Historiography

Jan N. Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

in The Gods of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637980
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670758 | DOI:
Gods in early Greek Historiography

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This chapter investigates the concept of ‘god’ in early historiography, particularly Herodotus, with reference to his contemporary intellectual environment. Though building on a large body of work, some quite recent, on ‘religion’ in Herodotus’, it seeks to go further by linking the concept of god or the divine to the concept of history at the most fundamental level, comparing and contrasting other genres and traditions. It considers forms of divine intervention, indirect (omens, miracles, dreams, oracles) and direct (epiphany). The case is made for Herodotus as a revolutionary in his thinking about gods, or at least participating fully in a contemporary revolution, as opposed to the usual picture of him as a rather conventional purveyor of religious commonplaces.

Keywords: Historiography; Herodotus; Concept of the divine; Epiphany; Dreams; Oracles

Chapter.  8590 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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