Rhizomata 1 (2):283-307 (2013)

Maria Sassi
University of Pisa
The focus of this essay is on Xenophanes’ criticism of anthropomorphic representation of the gods, famously sounding like a declaration of war against a constituent part of the Greek religion, and adopting terms and a tone that are unequalled amongst “pre-Socratic” authors for their directness and explicitness. While the main features of Xenophanes’ polemic are well known thanks to some of the most studied fragments of the pre-Socratic tradition, a different line of enquiry from the usual one is attempted by considering the multi-layered background of the religious beliefs revolving around the idea that the gods have human form as outlined in the tradition of epic poetry or represented in cult statues: in the light of this consideration Xenophanes’ text can take on some new characteristics. In the second part of the article, emphasis is put on the importance of the correlation Xenophanes established between the issue of the appearance of the gods and that of the certainty of knowledge, in terms that have exerted tremendous influence on later thought, most notably on Plato in the Timaeus.
Keywords Greek Religion  Greek Epistemology  Greek Epic Poetry  Presocratics  Sophists  Herodotus
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/rhiz-2013-0012
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A History of Greek Philosophy.W. K. C. Guthrie - 1962 - Cambridge University Press.
The Presocratic Philosophers.G. S. Kirk - 1957 - Cambridge University Press.
Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity.David Sedley - 2008 - University of California Press.
Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity.David Sedley - 2007 - University of California Press.

View all 68 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Building Cultures of Trust.Martin E. Marty - 2010 - W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co..
A Conception of the Philosophy of Religion.Piotr Moskal - 2008 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 56 (1):221-237.
The Sacred Cows of Science and Religion Meet.S. J. George V. Coyne - 2001 - In Hyung S. Choi, David F. Siemens & Shirley E. Williams (eds.), Naturalism: Its Impact on Science, Religion and Literature. Canyon Institute for Advanced Studies.
Anti-Luck Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):277-297.
The Density of the Meet-Inaccessible R. E. Degrees.Zhang Qinglong - 1992 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 57 (2):585-596.
Epistemology of Religion.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 1999 - In John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology. Blackwell.
Epistemology in Philosophy of Religion.Philip L. Quinn - 2002 - In Paul K. Moser (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 513--538.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,410 ( #2,285 of 2,381,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
35 ( #21,512 of 2,381,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes