Hellenic Theology of the Epoch of High Classics

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The conceptual basis of Hellenic theology was theoretical reflection on the essence of myth, the philosophy of mythology. Several stages can be distinguished in the history of Hellenic theology. The subject of this article is the Hellenic theology of the epoch of the high classics (Vt. half of the V century BC). The cultural roots of the High Classics go back to the ancient Enlightenment, which formed the rational attitude of the ancient consciousness to the world. The main event of the era of High Classics is the Peloponnesian War, which accelerated the crisis of the polis system, its way of life, and cultural ideals. The war led to the rupture of social ties, accelerated the individualization of the consciousness of the individual, forced to seek new social and spiritual supports. Serious shifts have taken place in the existential foundations of Hellenic religion, the understanding of man's dependence on the will of the Olympian gods and the measure of human influence on them has changed. If at the beginning of the epoch of the High Classics there was a semantic harmony of the relations between the human and the divine, then by the end of the epoch it was replaced by the confrontation and alienation of the sacred and profane. Ideas about the dependence of man on the world of the gods and the possible influence on the sacred have "blurred", have become extremely uncertain. This tendency manifested itself in various forms - in the strengthening of the influence of sophistry with its skepticism, the opposition of Chthonic and Olympic mythologies, the actualization of the motive of the birth of new gods (while the old ones do not die at all), stories about the deification of bright personalities, etc. Including in the theology of the Hellenic religion, concentrated expressed by the plots and images of the ancient drama (Sophocles, Euripides). The juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane made Hellenic religion meaningless, led it to self-denial. Under these conditions, Hellenic theology was faced with the need to transform the image of the sacred world. Firstly, by giving the otherworldly reality an abstract-conceptual transcendence. Secondly, through the ultimate generalization of mythological images of the gods, up to monotheism. These tasks were solved by the next epoch - the late classics.

About the authors

Viacheslav M. Naidysh

Рeoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: v.naidysh@bk.ru
DSc in Philosophy, Professor of the Department of Ontology and Epistemology 6 Miklukho-Maklaya St, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation


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