Analysis and Metaphysics 17:38–94 (2018)

Necip Fikri Alican
Washington University in St. Louis (PhD)
Belief in God is a steady epistemic state sustaining an ancient social institution. Not only is it still with us, it is still the same as it ever was. It rests on the same inspiration it did thousands of years ago, commanding the same attention with the same motivation. Deities come and go but the belief stays the same. That is the thesis of this paper. It is more specifically a study of classical Greek polytheism as a paradigm for our longstanding relationship with religious social structures. The main methodological vehicle is a survey of Hesiodic theogony for insight into the monotheism(s) we have adopted in its place. The evidence and implications for meaningful continuity are explored largely through the Judeo-Christian tradition, though that choice is representative rather than exhaustive with respect to the present spectrum of religious affiliation. The overall aim is not to dispute the validity of any particular belief system, past or present, but to expose the prevailing ones as extensions of the abandoned ones originally embraced with the same passion exhibited today. The underlying conviction is that theological explanation and religious orientation are reciprocal parts of a collective work in progress mapping out our common initiative to make sense of the world.
Keywords Philosophy of religion  Greek polytheism  Hesiodic theogony
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