Later Greek Religion

Later Greek Religion

Later Greek Religion

Later Greek Religion

Excerpt

In a preceding volume of this series Mr. Cornford illustrated Greek religious thought in the great days of Greek freedom which ended with the Macedonian conquest in the fourth century B.C. In the present volume it will be our task to survey Greek religious thought in the centuries which followed. Greek culture had still a great work to do in the world. If the Macedonian conquest lowered the interest of politics in the old Greek city-states, it made Greek culture dominant over a far larger area, and when, in process of time, all the countries round the Mediterranean came to form a single state under the Roman emperors, it was the literature and art of the Greeks, the Greek philosophic tradition, which everywhere shaped education and gave men their system of intellectual concepts and their standards of value. And although no more great original philosophers equal to Plato and Aristotle arose in the sphere of Hellenism, Greek thought, when confronted with new situations and new problems, by no means ceased to be creative. Systems such as Stoicism and Neoplatonism made original contributions of worth to the religious thought of men. In the end, a religion which arose outside the Hellenic tradition, amongst the Hebrews of Palestine, conquered the Roman Empire and abolished the worship of the Greek gods. But even so, Greek religious thought did not cease to have power over men's minds. A great mass of Platonism, of Aristotelianism, of Stoicism was taken over by Christianity and became part of the Christian . . .

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