When did the Hellenic faith die?

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,738
#14
As in the Hellenic gods of Greek origin? I am not actually sure it was really a faith so much as a cultural system of superstition. People could effectively be anti-theistic but still respect the gods for reasons generally similar to Pascal's wager.

As for the greater Hellenic religious movement, that included the Greek mystery religions, philosopher cults and such: they never died. Christianity, especially mystic Christianity, is largely a Hellenic reconstruction of Judaism. Roman Catholicism has the Trinity as the basis for God which was gleaned from the philosophical recognition that it's a paradox for God to both be perfect and therefore unchangeable and also to be active in the universe. The idea of the "Word" comes directly from Pre-Platonic Greek Philosophy as a concept to describe the guiding principle of the universe; the Stoics and others personified this voice; and the Hellenistic Jews made it an element of God; while the Christians made the Word into flesh. Jesus is the "Word made Flesh" - and this isn't a Semitic idea, but a Greek one introduced via Hellenistic Judaism - which is the origin of Christianity: the Word, in Greek philosophy (called the Logos) is the creative nature. If we are looking at it like a metaphor for a virtual world: God the Father is the Design, his first begotten son is the Word which is the code behind the virtual world: you could say the Holy Spirit is like the engine.

I realize this is ancient history and not the Religious Forum, but I think this passage is of historical note because we know that it was first conceived of during the Roman Empire - and I am not examining it as a piece of philosophy (note I have translated "Word" to Logos just for consistencies sake. "Word" - with the capital W - is simply the English version of the Greek "Logos" in this context).

Heraclitus - "For though all things come to be in accordance with this Logos,"
The Stoics - conflated the Logos of creation/natural laws with virtue and the universal reason (logic) - unfortunately I don't have a quote.
Hellenistic Judaism: Philo of Alexadria - "The Logos of the living God is the bond of everything, holding all things together and binding all the parts, and prevents them from being dissolved and separated"
Christianity: Gospel of John 1:1 - "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made."


We study "The Logos" in science too, not as a sacred entity, but as an inherent fact of the universe: BioLOGY, Physics, Chemistry, etc... It can be understood through materialism as well as religious. This isn't some new age concept either, this was a feature of the Islamic Golden age, and the Romans and Greeks too (albeit in more primitive and less organized methods than the Islamic GA, the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and beyond). Even as someone who is not at all religious, I can fully appreciate the beauty of how the Greeks and Hellenistic thinkers transformed philosophical thoughts into divine principles. I think that is really the legacy of Hellenism.

The main reason we look at the pagan side of things and decide Hellenism died, is because it differs from what has survived, or evolved from what survived. The only reason we see it as a dead faith is that we stuck a barrier on when evolutions of the Hellenistic thought became something different - even though it was always evolving - similar to the birds from the dinosaurs: which are really the same thing even though we understand them as things completely different.
 

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