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Durham e-Theses
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The concept of the ΘEIOΣ ‘ANHP in the Greco-Roman world with special reference to the first two centuries A.D.

Jones, Elwyn (1973) The concept of the ΘEIOΣ ‘ANHP in the Greco-Roman world with special reference to the first two centuries A.D. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The origin of the concept of "godlike man" in Graeco-Roman civilization may be traced back to mythological accounts of sons of gods. Later the shaman-like figures of archaic Greece possess an other-worldliness which was clearly perceptible in an age of superstition and intense religiosity. Earliest representatives of the type for which sufficiently detailed evidence can be pieced together are Pythagoras and Empedocles. Socrates, whose enigmatic life has to be seen against the background of a more rational age, also possessed a "daemonic" personality. A variation of the concept occurs in ruler-cult. Alexander the Great, who emulated demi-gods, was worshipped by virtue of his own omnipotence. His controversial personality was open to the double interpretation of megalomania and the pursuit of a divine mission. There was. little religious significance in the worship of later rulers except possibly for Augustus, The divine king is discussed in philosophical thought from Xenophon and Plato down to the Stoics and Cynics of the imperial age. But it is in the light of the revival of religious Pythagorism that the later category, as portrayed by Philostratus, may best be viewed. Hence the thesis is chiefly concerned with Apollonius of Tyana and the literary and historical context of the age in which both he and his biographer lived. Striking parallels are afforded by Lucian, and a similar literary category may be seen in Jewish and popular Christian writings. A detailed study of the Graeco-Roman concept, it is hoped, may provide a background for current Christological discussion as well as throw light on the history of religious ideas in the ancient world.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 09:31

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