Xenophanes critique of greek religion

According to a variety of sources, Xenophanes seems to have held the view that the sun comes into being—perhaps newly each day—either by a collection of ignited clouds according to some or by pieces of fiery earth.

Xenophanes (c. 570—c. 478 B.C.E.)

And something like this might be a very helpful idea. While the designation of Xenophanes as a monotheist is warranted in many respects, such an interpretation ultimately presumes too much.

Ancient Greek religion

This can be viewed as the first application of a comparative perspective to the study of religion. They are not, of course, spelled out in the text. But mortals suppose that gods are born, wear their own clothers and have a voice and body. Because of this, and because of the fact that our ideas about the gods or, now, God come from ourselves, we should maintain our theological humility.

Before setting out for Troy, this type of animal sacrifice is offered. There is no reason to say that we know anything about the nature of the gods. Nevertheless, the historical speculation seems somewhat justified, particularly given the fact that Xenophanes proposed the view that the clouds were responsible for various heavenly phenomena.

Whether or not Xenophanes himself traveled to Syracuse, Paros, and Malta where these remains were found, his use of this information as the basis for a broad explanation of phenomena is an implicit testimonial to the heuristic value of information gained through travel and observation.

This is a decidedly bad thing.


He is notable as the first westerner that used scientific methods like deduction and observation in his attempts to explain the universe rather than mythology and tradition.

Many rural sanctuaries probably stayed in this style, but the more popular were gradually able to afford a building to house a cult image, especially in cities. Having accounted for the formation of clouds in mechanistic terms through processes of vaporization and compression Xenophanes proceeds to make use of clouds to explain a large number of meteorlogical and astronomical phenomena.

Xenophanes roughly - BCE, though his dates are not certain would have certainly been seen as a "heretic" in his day, as he leveled a scathing critique against the way in which religion was practiced in his day. He was in the Ionian tradition.

Praise the man who when he has taken drink brings noble deeds to light, As memory and a striving for virtue bring to him. For one thing, it is highly suspicious that, while he takes Homer and Hesiod to task for their portrayal of the nature of the gods, he never bothers to comment on the number of their gods.

And, because even the gods are flawed, humans should not expect themselves or others to be perfect in any way. He served in the Athenian army during the Peloponnesian war — BC. Those are fragments [6] and [7], which form a very early monotheistic concept of god.


The interest of this work is philosophical but the main theological questions are examined with subtlety. Although many aspects of his thought remain the subject of scholarly debate, Xenophanes was clearly a multi-dimensional thinker who left his mark on many aspects of later Greek thought.

And, for him, this does not have a neutral value.


Guthrie puts the matter in perspective: Other deities ruled over abstract concepts; for instance Aphrodite controlled love. What, then, does it say about Homer and Hesiod that they crafted gods who exhibit deviant behavior?

Xenophanes could autoptically realize that the routes through which humans and, by paradoxical analogy, the other animals reach the representation of the divine are numberless. So, the first fragment dealing with religion considered here is fragment [2], in which Xenophanes offers his searing critique of Homer and Hesiod and their description of traditional Greek religion.

His critiques of popular religion have similarly won him the honor of being known as one of the first theologists in the history of Western philosophy.

Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur; Stuttgart: They are not, of course, spelled out in the text. Chief among these were the gods and humans, though the Titans who predated the Olympian gods also frequently appeared in Greek myths.

It had also been common since antiquity to see him as the teacher of Zeno of Eleathe colleague of Parmenidesand generally associated with the Eleatic schoolbut common opinion today is likewise that this is false.

The temple usually kept the skin, to sell to tanners. Xoanan had the advantage that they were easy to carry in processions at festivals.

Hippolytus A33 credits Xenophanes with a theory of alternating periods of world-wide flood and drought that was inspired, at least in part, by the discovery of fossilized remains of sea creatures at inland locations. But if we are looking to find some kind of meaning, however existential and indescribable, in life, then we will not be disappointed.

These were typically devoted to one or a few gods, and supported a statue of the particular deity. A key passage in this regard is fragment 32, where Xenophanes explains a rainbow: Bronze cult images were less frequent, at least until Hellenistic times.Michael Eisenstadt, in "Xenophanes' Proposed Reform of Greek Religion," Hermes (): –argues for Xenophanes' approval of the worship of the Olympian gods in spite of the philosophical inadequacy of traditional religion.

In the fragments that have survived clearly show the plain mockery and criticism Xenophanes subjected Hesiod`s and Homer`s work t that is believed to have established the foundation of. Xenophanes of Colophon was a philosophically-minded poet who lived in various parts of the ancient Greek world during the late 6 th and early 5 th centuries BCE He is best remembered for a novel critique of anthropomorphism in religion, a partial advance toward monotheism, and some pioneering reflections on the conditions of knowledge.

Xenophanes (c. 570—c. 478 B.C.E.)

Xenophanes of Colophon (/ z ə ˈ n ɒ f ə n iː z /; Ancient Greek: Ξενοφάνης ὁ Κολοφώνιος [ksenopʰánɛːs ho kolopʰɔ̌ːnios]; c. – c. BC) was a Greek philosopher, theologian. Dec 21,  · Xenophanes is famous for his critique of the Greek gods and mythology.

But he didn't criticize only mythology, but also his philosophical predecesors. Xenophanes’ Critique of Greek Religion In this paper, I will show how Xenophanes was a man before his time.

Even though everyone around him followed and believed in all the same things, he was not willing to conform or stop attaining knowledge for anyone.

Xenophanes critique of greek religion
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