Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Religion?

Here is a view from the edX course I'm taking in The Ancient Greek Hero:

00§12. In the Classical period, an authoritative source goes on record to say that Homer and Hesiod are the foundation for all civilization. That source is the historian Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. According to Herodotus (2.53.1-3), Homer and Hesiod are the repository of knowledge that provides the basics of education for all Hellenes. [8] And such basics, as we will see in this book, are conceived primarily in terms of religion, which requires an overall knowledge of the forms and the functions of the gods.

00§13. Here I make two points about the historical realities of ancient Greek religion:

1. When we apply the term religion to such traditional practices as the worship of gods in the classical period of Greek civilization as also in earlier periods, we need to think of such practices in terms of an interaction between myth and ritual. Here is a quick working definition of myth and ritual together. Ritual is doing things and saying things in a way that is considered sacred. Myth is saying things in a way that is also considered sacred. So ritual frames myth.

Perhaps Arun (or anybody else) might critique this from the point of view of "Western Religion" vs. Hinduism.