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The Gods of Ancient GreeceIdentities and Transformations$
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Jan Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748637980

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637980.001.0001

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Gods in early Greek Historiography

Gods in early Greek Historiography

(p.318) 15 Gods in early Greek Historiography
The Gods of Ancient Greece

Jan N. Bremmer

Andrew Erskine

Edinburgh University Press

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

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