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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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Aristophanes’ ‘Pure Mind’

Aristophanes’ ‘Pure Mind’

Chapter:
(p.241) 11 Aristophanes’ ‘Pure Mind’
Source:
Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion
Author(s):

Andrej Petrovic

Ivana Petrovic

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.003.0012

Chapter 11 analyses a rare instance in which comedy addresses the issues of inner purity, and focuses on Aristophanes’ Frogs. In v. 355, the leader of the chorus of the initiates in the underworld modifies the Eleusinian prorrhesis to include purity of thoughts (gnome). We argue that this demand should not be perceived as a distinct ritual request, but as a parody of the prorrhesis of the Eleusinian mysteries. The mystery ritual of Eleusis which fostered an individual, personal, soteriological eschatology is used in Frogs as a foil for reflexion on the possibilities of collective salvation. In a paradoxical turn, Aristophanes quotes the prorrhesis of the ritual which leads to personal salvation in order to denounce the citizens who think solely about personal gain.

Keywords:   Aristophanes, frogs, purity of thought, purity of hands, prorrhesis, Eleusinian mysteries, morality, mystai, Athenian politics, tragedy

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