Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
81. The Wise 83. Ethics of Herakleitos

From Chapter III., Herakleitos of Ephesos

82. Theology
With certain reservations, Herakleitos was prepared to call the one Wisdom by the name of Zeus. Such, at least, appears to be the meaning of fr. 65. What these reservations were, it is easy to guess. It is not, of course, to be pictured in the form of a man. In saying this, Herak1eitos would only have been repeating what had already been said by Xenophanes. He agrees further with Xenophanes in holding that this "god," if it is to be called so, is one; but his polemic against popular religion was directed rather against the rites and ceremonies themselves than their mythological outgrowth. He gives a list (fr. 124) of some of the religious figures of his time, and the context in which the fragment is quoted shows that he in some way threatened them with the wrath to come. He comments on the absurdity of praying to images (fr.126), and the strange idea that blood-guiltiness can be washed out by the shedding of blood (fr.130). He seems also to have said that it was absurd to celebrate the worship of Dionysos by cheerful and licentious ceremonies, while Hades was propitiated by gloomy rites (fr. 127). According to the mystic doctrine itself, the two were really one; and the one Wisdom ought to be worshipped in its integrity.








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