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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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Hesiod on Moral Badness as Impurity

Hesiod on Moral Badness as Impurity

Chapter:
(p.41) 1 Hesiod on Moral Badness as Impurity
Source:
Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion
Author(s):

Andrej Petrovic

Ivana Petrovic

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.003.0002

Chapter 1 discusses Hesiod, Works and Days, seventh century bc. The rules for the ‘Hesiodic life’ (vv. 724–59) contain numerous instructions for obtaining and maintaining ritual purity. The instructions for the ritualized crossing of the river contain the first attestation of purifying the mind as a prerequisite for completing a ritual (vv. 737–41). Hesiod specifies that it is the badness (kakotes) which needs to be discarded before encounter with the divinity (the river). We discuss the concept of kakotes in Hesiod and conclude that it is located in one’s nous. We argue that the prayer performed while looking at the river which Hesiod mentions in v. 738 represents the means of inner purification. Furthermore, the request to avoid ‘finding fault with sacrifices’ (vv. 755–6) can be interpreted as stressing the importance of one’s state of mind during rituals.

Keywords:   Hesiod, kakotes, badness, river-crossing, purification, nous, mind, dike, justice, prayer, divine scrutiny

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