From Chapter II., Science and Religion
36. Relation of Religion and Philosophy
The reason is that ancient religion was not a body of doctrine. Nothing was required but that the ritual should be performed correctly and in a proper frame of mind; the worshipper was free to give any explanation of it he pleased. It might be as exalted as that of Pindar and Sophokles or as debased as that of the itinerant mystery-mongers described in Plato's Republic. "The initiated," said Aristotle, "are not supposed to learn anything, but to be affected in a certain way and put into a certain frame of mind."16 That is why the religious revival could inspire philosophy with a new spirit, but could not at first graft new doctrines on it.
13. For Empedokles, see § 117; for the Pythagoreans, see § 149.
14. I have discussed this point fully in "The Socratic Doctrine of the Soul" (Proceedings of the British Academy, 1915-16, p. 235).
15. Plato, Phaed. 69 c 3, καὶ κινδυνεύουσι καὶ οἱ τὰς τελετὰς ἡμῖν οὗτοι καταστήσαντες οὐ φαῦλοί τινες εἶναι, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὄντι πάλαι αἰνίττεσθαι κτλ.. The irony of this and similar passages should be unmistakable.
16. Arist. fr. 45 (1483 a 19), τοὺς τελουμένους οὐ μαθεῖν τι δεῖν, ἀλλὰ παθεῖν καὶ διατεθῆναι.
Created for Peithô's Web from Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition (1920). London: A & C Black Ltd. Burnet's footnotes have been converted to chapter endnotes. Greek unicode text entered with Peithô's Younicoder.
Web design by Larry Clark and RSBoyes (Agathon). Peithô's Web gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Anthony Beavers in the creation of this web edition of Burnet. Please send comments to: