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Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek ReligionVolume I: Early Greek Religion$
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Andrej Petrovic and Ivana Petrovic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.001.0001

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Inner Purity and Pollution in Early Greek Religion

(p.1) Introduction
Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion

Andrej Petrovic

Ivana Petrovic

Oxford University Press

After an outline of the gradual disintegration of the concept of ‘belief’ in the twentieth century, the Introduction sketches the renaissance of the interest in internal investment of a Greek worshipper, and provides a rationale for the Greek conceptualization of inner purity as incorporating many of the features that the modern term ‘belief’ does. It introduces the object of the inquiry and defines its scope, and proceeds to summarize the most influential theoretical articulations concerning ‘doctrines of purity’. The combination of Douglas’ and Valeri’s views is given as the methodological justification for the analysis of individual ancient discourses as subsystems. Following a historical overview and a critical discussion of scholarship, it addresses the taxonomy of Greek pollution beliefs and focuses on the distinction between physical and metaphysical pollution. It then turns to definition and articulations of inner purity, providing an overview of the key features of inner purity in the pre-Platonic sources.

Keywords:   belief, scholarship, ancient Greece, anthropology, purity, inner purity, pollution, Mary Douglas, Valerio Valeri, Robert Parker

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