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Author Topic: Special Discussion: Nature and Pagan Religions  (Read 22953 times)
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Religion: Hellenic Pagan
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« Reply #8: May 14, 2008, 03:29:53 pm »

You're making perfect sense, I think.  Smiley

The point you bring up, about how most Greek Recon practices are based on Athenian civic models, is so true and so interesting -- that's the stuff that survived.  I wonder what Greek Reconstructionism would look like today if the bulk of the material that had survived had been rural folk practices instead.  I mean, clearly, agricultural/fertility/etc.-focused cults were around, but since we don't know too much about them, they don't contribute to our overall understanding of Greek religion in a way that Reconstructionists can use. 

And it's not just that it's the records of the city-oriented religious practices, etc., that have survived; it's the fact that a lot of the other Greek material -- literary, philosophical, etc. -- we have is also city-based.  The Greeks -- the city-based educated sorts who wrote stuff we can read, anyway -- had a really strong sense of "nature" vs. "civilization."  Even their deities which were associated with nature had *some* kind of link back to civilization, as they understood it -- Demeter is the goddess of *cultivated* grain, Pan watches over the flocks, Artemis helps with childbirth and can be worshiped in cities like Ephesus, and so on.  (And their deities of "civilization" often had "nature" elements to them as well:  Zeus and his thunderbolts, Apollo and the sun, Hermes and the flocks.)

So, yeah.  I tend to think that the general truism of Greek religion not really being nature-based has less to do with some kind of inherent truth about Greek religious practices in general, and more to do with the fact that what's survived is the city-based stuff.  Not that if we had more info about rural practices that it would somehow, like, cancel out the city-based stuff, but it would add more nuance to the picture.  If that makes sense. 

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