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A history of modern scholarship on Ancient Greek religion

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What were the origins of the Greek gods? Contemplating an ancient religion in modern times ...a fascinating topic!


The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are a key period in the history of modern scholarship on ancient Greek religion. It was in nineteenth-century Germany that the foundations for the modern academic study of Greek religion were laid and the theories formulated by German scholars as well as by their British colleagues in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century exercised a profound influence on the field which would resonate until much later times. 


Throughout this period fierce debates were conducted over the interpretation of Greek religion: what were the origins of the Greek gods and what light did they shed on their conception in historical times? Was there a monotheistic strand in Greek polytheism and if so, how was it to be explained? In terms of an innate human tendency, or diffusion from abroad? And if the latter, where from? How similar or different was Greek religion to the religions of other Indo-European peoples, to the non-Indo-European religions of the ancient Near East, or to the modern polytheistic religions of Africa and Asia? At a time of growing scientification and professionalization in the discipline, classical scholars in Germany and Britain drew on developments in philology, archaeology, comparative mythology, anthropology, and later sociology to propose strikingly different answers to these questions...


...via Oxford University Blog

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