09.10.2022

A Hellenic response to Mr. Jordan Peterson

First published on hellenismos.org on December 9, 2021.


Mr. Jordan Peterson,

It has come to my attention that in a lecture which you gave some years ago, you stated that you like the idea of a relationship «between polytheism and psychological confusion» and «monotheism and psychological unification,» an idea you ascribed to Carl Jung. I don’t know about you, but the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians don’t appear confused to me. Or would you say that the creation of science, administration, philosophy and democracy are symptoms of confusion? And what about the Bible or the Christians? Is genocide at the command of a god a sign of «psychological unification» to you?

What in your opinion is psychological balance? Hearing the voice of god? Or creating the institutions of freedom, i.e. self-government? Personally, I find myself unable to associate sanity with the enslavement to a questionable book, with illiterates from the desert being proud of being unwashed or with so-called holy men preaching hate against the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and all the other people who were «different,» meaning themselves. I would like to remind you that it was monotheism, not polytheism, that set the ancient world on fire, destroyed the temples and altars of the gods, burned down whole libraries, pathologized sexuality and massacred the European ethnicities. Genocide is interwoven with the mindset and dogma of monotheism, because the monotheistic doctrine is intrinsically unable to accept or at least tolerate alterity.

Mr. Peterson, I think I understand why you deny the existing phenomenon of cultural appropriation, or praise orthodox Christianity and, of course, individualism. Nevertheless I find it very concerning that you ignore the criminal history of Christianity, its totalitarian attitude towards collective otherness, its immanent devaluation of the objective world in favour of an incoherent fantasy, the countless genocides it committed through the ages and the plans for new genocides in the «Revelation to John,» the last book of the so-called New Testament. Not many centuries passed since civilization put a stop to Christianity’s barbarity. But Christianity didn’t change, the world did, it changed due to the Enlightenment and the French revolution, which would not have taken place without the rediscovery of classical literature for which the humanists were responsible the majority of whom were anti-Christian. It was the enlightenment and French revolution that to some degree civilized the Western world. Not Christianity.

As an advocate for individualism, which by the way was regarded by Carl Jung — who is mentioned very often in your lectures — as a «cheap substitute» for the relationship with «das Selbst» (the self) that is lacking, you are opposed to collectivism which is the essential characteristic of indigenous or «polytheistic» cultures, but also the basis of democracy, since the idea of humans as «persons» was and is foreign to Hellenism. The «individual» is the central idea of the West, as you rightly said. The central idea of Hellenism, on the other side, is «political man,» and this idea is the logical consequence of collectivism, because politics is all about the polis, state, community. As a term «politics» means «dealing with the affairs of the polis [state].» But the polis is the expression of a well ordered and thus free i.e. autonomous collective. Without the polis there is no polites (citizen), no politismos (administration) and no politeia, which is the «condition and rights of a citizen,» the collective «body of citizens» (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott: A Greek-English Lexicon, entry: πολιτεία). Isegoria (equality in freedom of speech), isonomia (equal application of the laws to all) and isokratia (equality of power) are the collective fundaments on which freedom is based and without which democracy cannot exist, for democracy is nothing more nor less than the self governed society, free of tyranny, heavenly dictators, parties and parliaments.

Hellenism sees man as a social being defined by his relationships to his family, clan, tribe and state, as member of a group, a limb of the political order of his polis. Against this backdrop, individualism isolates man, counteracts his political nature and, more importantly, places all collective needs under the primacy of individual desires, wishes and likes, cementing the atomization and depolitization of man. When individual choices or desires rise above collective necessities, tyranny is not far away. The immaturity of individualism is the very antithesis of Jung’s concept of individuation, which he thought was a natural process «by which individual beings are formed and differentiated.» Its goal is «the development of the individual personality» (Collected Works 6, 757), to «achieve wholeness» (Collected Works 17, 307). Individualism, on the other hand, is not natural at all. It’s a modern ideology. Encyclopaedia Britannica defines individualism as a «political and social philosophy that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual … According to the individualist, all values are human-centred, the individual is of supreme importance, and all individuals are morally equal» (Encyclopaedia Britannica, entry: individualism), whereas the definition given by Analytical psychology looks somewhat different: «Individualism. A belief in the supremacy of individual interests over those of the collective, not to be confused with individuality or individuation» (Daryl Sharp, C. G. Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts, entry: individualism).

Jung himself was very careful to differentiate individualism from individuation: «Individualism has nothing to do with individuation; individualism is an inflation of the ego of man» (The Seminaries, Vol. 2, Part 1. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1934-1939, London/New York, 2014, p. 348); «relationship to the self is at once relationship to our fellow man, and no one can be related to the latter until he is related to himself» (Collected Works 16, 445). But this is not surprising, since Jung wasn’t very keen on individualism: «the development of personality is an ideal … the cry of individualism is an insult» (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 17: Development of Personality, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954/1981, p. 175). In his Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (London: Routledge, 1992, 2nd ed., p. 173-174), Jung goes into more detail about the true meaning of individuation:

«Individualism means deliberately stressing and giving prominence to some supposed peculiarity rather than to collective considerations and obligations. But individuation means precisely the better and more complete fulfilment of the collective qualities of the human being, since adequate consideration of the peculiarity of the individual is more conducive to a better social performance than when the peculiarity is neglected or suppressed. The idiosyncrasy of an individual is not to be understood as any strangeness in his substance or in his components, but rather as a unique combination, or gradual differentiation, of functions and faculties which in themselves are universal. Every human face has a nose, two eyes, etc., but these universal factors are variable, and it is this variability which makes individual peculiarities possible. Individuation, therefore, can only mean a process of psychological development that fulfils the individual qualities given; in other words, it is a process by which a man becomes the definite, unique being he in fact is. In so doing he does not become ‹selfish› in the ordinary sense of the word, but is merely fulfilling the peculiarity of his nature, and this, as we have said, is vastly different from egotism or individualism.»


In this light, it is understandable that you hold onto a notion of «polytheism» (which is part of one’s collective ethos) that allows you to draw a conclusion that confirms your thesis. It’s a logical fallacy, and therefore maybe also human nature I guess. But I certainly don’t understand why you seem to confuse the archetypal images with the archetypes themselves, since you are a clinical psychologist. The archetypal images are «only» the «externalization» of inherited neuropsychological dispositions called archetypes. They are not the archetypes themselves nor the gods worshipped by indigenous people, especially given that the gods are external forces. Returning to the issue at hand, I would like to clear up one misunderstanding that dominates not only your thinking, but the entire Western imagination, and is often used to justify the disregard of ethnic religions. The gods of my ancestors, the gods of the Greeks, are not «archetypes.» They are not personalities and not even personal gods, but multiplications of the True Being (ontos on), and thus impersonal, asexual beings (onta), since they are connected to the first cause «in the same manner as intellections are not separated from intellect» (Sallustios, On the Gods and the World, Ch. II.). This idea seems strange to many people because they were taught to confuse the myths with the actual cult. However, the reality is very different from the notions that were established as «common knowledge» in the Western world. «Greek religion, religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Hellenes. Greek religion is not the same as Greek mythology, which is concerned with traditional tales, though the two are closely interlinked. Curiously, for a people so religiously minded, the Greeks had no word for religion itself; the nearest terms were eusebeia (‹piety›) and threskeia (‹cult›)» (Encyclopaedia Britannica, entry: Greek religion).

In Hellenic religion, the sacred is diversity in unity, the gods multiplicity of oneness. Besides the strange stereotypes surrounding the terms «monotheism» and «polytheism,» the core of Hellenic religion lies in its cosmotheism. i.e. the relationship between the gods and the cosmos. The term «cosmotheism» is a recent construction. It describes a religious conception or notion of the universe as an eternal wholeness. According to this view, the cosmos is beginningless or arose out of itself. Its laws come from within. However, the cosmos is permeated by a principle that is superior to the will of the gods. This principle is called in Hellenismos moira (fate), ananke (necessity) or heimarmene (causal determinism). Consequently, in cosmotheism, the cosmos itself takes on the central role and also ranks above the gods in importance. The gods did not create the universe, they just gave order to the world, united the various primordial substances into the cosmos.

The god of monotheism, on the other side, is a person or, to be more precisely, a personal god. He creates the cosmos by will and is not subjected to any law. The universe is his to do with as he pleases. He is not accountable to anyone, and is the source, not the divine «pillar» of ethics. While in Hellenic religion justice is the «sister» of the seasons, in other words an objective reality, in monotheism, justice is solely the will and work of god. This makes him the «archetype» of authoritarianism. Religion is only one part of what we call monotheism. Monotheism is not limited to theology or the apotheosis of the individual, because it is also culture and politics. This is what makes monotheism so dangerous for the body and mind of people. However, the really tragic thing is: monotheism passed the previously described deified arbitrariness and its eschatology onto its political derivations: conservatism, liberalism, nationalism, internationalism. Fascism and bolshevism, however, are undoubtedly the worst and most deadly emanations of political monotheism that humanity has had to face since the genocide of the Indigenous populations of the Americas. Now, while the former endeavor to present themselves as more secular and rational ideologies that promise bliss to the world, for the most part the latter two make no secret of their «world-correcting» agendas and totalitarian will to assert their particular fetish, be it the triumph of the «white race» or the realization of the «classless society.» It is this sense of mission and the transformation of the Western religious habitus into what is euphemistically called today «politics» that makes political monotheism so dangerous, not to mention so irrational. Western exceptionalism for instance is nothing other than the secularized self-image of Christianity.

Within two centuries, political monotheism managed to colonize almost all of humanity’s mental landscapes, with a lot of help from Western empires. But then again, this is the actual recipe of success of the Occidental cultural imperialism: it assails religion as well as culture and politics. Political monotheism is now dominating «politics,» all on a worldwide basis, turning history itself into a nightmarish epiphany of an imprudent god whose insecurity turns into aggression in the face of the natural polymorphy of the ethnosphere. Both religious as well as political monotheism is deeply imbued with the spirit of intransigent intolerance. Hence, it is not surprising that the religious wing of the Western cultural imperialism, or to be precise, the various by-products of Western Christianity are characterized by a similar intolerance towards heterogeneity and otherness, even though some of them deny their derivation from monotheism and genuinely consider themselves to be tolerant. Nonetheless they use the same core methods to «correct,» alienate or assimilate otherness into themselves. They use the violence embedded within the capitalist way of thinking to possess, own, consume, dissipate and ultimately dispose of the once desired object whatever that object might be: an ethnonym, a culture, its religion or even its history. This can be observed especially in occultism, neopaganism and the New Age movement, where cultural appropriation is well documented. Less extreme examples appear to depend on the same mechanisms. However, it was the exorbitant exploitation and distortion of Native American religious traditions that lead to the «Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality» that was ratified in June 1993 by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

Besides turning the sacred into a «product,» cultural appropriation has opened the way for cultural occupation, alienation and expropriation. For the cultures concerned, it’s an ethnocide by installments, though the occentocentric perspective resists this reality. What is expressed here is the imbalance of power acquired through military, technological and economic resources, that is so characteristic of cultural appropriation. Western Christian esotericism, commonly known as occultism, drives the homogenization of the ethnosphere by forcing ethnic religions into western concepts, under the spell of Western universalism, which is poisoning the much touted dialogue of cultures. This concerns in particular indigenous cultures as they are in a weaker, marginalized position. But this disrespectful, exploitative relationship to the world is not limited to occultism. For although it’s secondary products such as neopaganism and the New Age may appear more tolerant due to their syncretism and pluralistic rhetoric, they maintain a similar attitude toward alterity, have the same impact on the ethnosphere. One just needs to take a closer look at their actual interaction with the outside world and shouldn’t be dazzled by the bright colours and advertising texts. Their aggressive commercialization of foreign cultures and their ancestral cults, the market-conform distortion of indigenous practices and, above all, the active reproduction of Christianity’s false and derogatory stereotypes of ethnic religions are sabotaging the revitalization and re-Indigenization efforts undertaken by indigenous people in order to heal their communities. There are even cases where pagans claim to be members of the culture or tradition they exploit for their own private gain, or where they pretend to speak on behalf of a community of people they are not related to, while in other cases some of them attempted to define indigenous Hellenic culture from the outside (which means to decide what Hellenism is or should be) and presented themselves to the public as «Hellenic priests.» Unfortunately, the internet especially social media makes it easy for scammers and con artists to scam people and take their money: it provides a market where fraudsters can operate unhindered by borders. But such an activity is not just fraud. It is an outright attack on the self-determination and sovereignty of peoples. And this situation is further aggravated because self-staging and the priority of the subjective over the objective are intrinsic to Angloamerican paganism. Therefore a permanent solution to the problem outlined above seems unrealistic at this time.

Given these considerations, it should come as no surprise that pagans, but also nationalists who show a curious obsession with ancient Greece, call the Hellenes‘ right to define their own culture into question, masking cultural continuities in favour of a fetishized version of «ancient Greece» — a substitute for a lively connection to a culture that remains completely alien to them. However, a closer look at this self-staging reveals that some of these people are not just interested in personal gain, they also seek social feedback and admiration that they believe will confirm their self-conceptions and thus raise their self-esteem. Their unnecessary conflicts with reality are rooted in their inability to cope with their need for validation and appreciation appropriately. Their lack of awareness about what is going on in their mind, caused by their ignorance and infantility, is preventing them from understanding the reactions of the people whose culture they abuse. That they are crossing a line. Indigenous cultures are not consumer goods, their ancestral cults are not RPGs, their identity is not a plaything.

But this postmodern peculiarity is not only to be found in Angloamerican paganism, in fact it permeates the entire Western world. The German psychoanalyst Rainer Funke describes this kind of self-staging as follows: «Nobody has the right to say what is good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or sick, genuine or false, real or illusionary. What counts is the self-determined self-staging — that you are yourself» (Rainer Funk [ed.]: Einleitung: Das Leben selbst ist eine Kunst, in: Erich Fromm: Die Antwort der Liebe: Die Kunst des richtigen Lebens, Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2003, 2nd ed., p. 9). Cultural appropriation, however, is only one facet of creeping modernization — a popular euphemism for Westernization, which is in turn, a euphemism for cultural alienation. The approximation to the West is also accomplished by the occupation or «change» of the language, institutions and customs of the people concerned from the outside, often accompanied by rationalization of exploitation or denial and trivialisation of acts of genocide, in an effort to make this occupation of one’s cultural imagination appear less uncivilized. But that is another issue, which deserves its own paper.

The link below will take you to a 18-minute long video that provides more details on the nature of the gods and how my people perceive them. I’m sure it can remedy your misunderstanding and provide you with new insights that counteract the stories spread by Christianity during the last twenty centuries, which have now become «general knowledge» and reproduce one another, for instance in occultism or paganism. This «general knowledge» affects everyone of us, it affected even Carl Jung, since Christianity permeates the whole Western world, even the imagination of its atheists, because every imagination is culturally determined, and members of the Western world breathe and live inside the Christian categories, inside Christianity’s metalanguage and stereotypes, religious and secular. But it is not only the perspective, words are also culturally determined or rather permeated by the dominant culture (which is currently the «Western civilization» established by Charlemagne) – and language in turn shapes our cognitive realities and via that route our behavioural responses.

As a Hellene, I don’t expect you agree with me about this. As someone who believes in Jesus, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to acknowledge the ethnic gods as something other than «mythological gods.» Therefore, my intention is not to change your mind, after all we both belong to different cultures and represent different worlds. But that’s actually a good thing. After two thousand years of forceful homogenization and universalism of the ethnosphere, the last thing we need is more homogenization.

My motivation for this article was to try to communicate the Hellenic perspective and to contrast your public praise of «monotheism» or statement on «polytheism» with a more differentiated view regarding the differences between these two systems which generate fundamentally different values, cultures and thus types of man.

Yours sincerely,

Stilian Korovilas



Excellent study on the revitalization of Hellenic religion

Alexandros Sakellariou: The reconstruction of ancient Greek religion: Practicing Hellenic religious tradition in contemporary Greek society.

The above link is to a very fair, objective and valid academic work on the revitalization of Hellenic religion in Greece in PDF format. Alexandros Sakellariou, a Greek sociologist and researcher, interviewed several ethnic Hellenes, researched what is important to them and the reasons why they abandoned Christianity for Hellenism. The result is a generally understandable presentation of the complex phenomenon of re-Hellenization.

His thoroughly researched and written study paints also a realistic picture of the religious situation in contemporary Greece and offers an insight into the unknown world of Hellenism, which is very rare when it comes to corresponding academic studies. Almost all papers on Hellenic revitalization are written by non-Greeks with no access to Greek material and no insider knowledge about Greek society.

This paper is qualitatively different; the author didn't write about ethnic Hellenes, he actually talked and listened to them. He knows Greek society, the Hellenic organizations and the development of the re-Hellenization movement over a period of several years. Sakellariou treats the topic with respect and scholarly stringency. Unfortunately, that is not always a matter of course. This enabled him to set some things straight and, more importantly, to provide a basic understanding of Hellenic revitalization to people who are unfamiliar with Hellenism.

Therefore, if one wants to know more about ethnic Hellenes, what they think and what motivated them to embrace their ancestral tradition, I recommend reading this study.

Alexandros Sakellariou: The reconstruction of ancient Greek religion: Practicing Hellenic religious tradition in contemporary Greek society, Wuhan Journal of Cultic Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2: 2021.

  • Introduction
  • The religious landscape of Greek society
  • The reappearance and reconstruction of ancient Greek religion
  • Theoretical background and methodology
  • The role of tradition in contemporary trajectories
  • Theology, values and ideology
  • Practices and participation: Individual and collective
  • Conclusions
  • References

 


Common Hellenism

When we take a closer look at the Greek or Hellenic people, we see a vibrant culture that manifests itself in a variety of different ways at the individual, local, and state levels. There are different dances, musical styles, ceremonies, superstitions, fairy tales, cultures of memory, family structures and unique traditions forged by historical experiences. All these emanations of Greek culture are interconnected and thus interact with each other. This interaction is possible because it is rooted on a common ground for all Hellenic tribes. Our pan-Hellenic identity is structured on the basis of this shared common ground. This common ground is our Common Hellenism.

Sometimes Greeks seem to forget their belonging to the same ethnicity. We tend to place tribal interests above those of all Greeks, sometimes even above everything else, which led to the popular saying: “The worst enemy of a Greek is another Greek.” It is for this reason that we need to remind ourselves of our Common Hellenism. Considered from the historical point of view, it was always an outside threat that forced us to pull ourselves together, though that did not last long.

We should always bear in mind that we are an ethnos, a word which is, unfortunately, often misunderstood in the non-Greek world or, even worse, confused with the Western European originated concept of “race.” The word “ethnos” derives from the ancient Greek éthos which means “character, idiom, behavior.” An “ethnos” is a group of people sharing a common ethos or culture, as we call it today. A Hellene is someone of Hellenic ancestry who participates in Hellenic ethos (language, religion, way of life), and hence a bearer of a specific ethnic identity based on a specific ethos, language and religion (“kinship of all Greeks in blood and speech, and the shrines of gods and the sacrifices that we have in common, and the likeness of our way of life,” Herodotos, 8.144). Nevertheless, as an ethnos, we are, just like any other ethnicity, inhomogeneous. As explained above, our historically grown diversity expresses itself in a variety of customs, dialects and tribal cults. All this variety, however, flows to our Common Hellenism like a mighty river to the sea.

The loyalty towards the pan-Hellenic cults, our language and way of life are the basic characteristics that all ethnic Hellenes have in common, regardless of which school of philosophy (Platonic, Stoic or Epicurean) and tribe we belong to, regardless of the dialect we use at home or how we bury our dead. Common Hellenism contains all of that, and in addition offers the strength to face threats we could not face alone. The selected quotes below accentuate the interconnected natural diversity, and furthermore, the strength that lies inherent in our Common Hellenism.

It is only when we work together (or at least towards the same goal) that we experience the underlying certainty of Common Hellenism: Even though we come from different tribes, we are one. It does not matter if the main god of your tribe is Zeus Stratios or Pallas Athena, if you belong to an Ionian or another tribe, if you speak this or that dialect, if you live in Thessaloniki, Athens or in the diaspora, if you are able to speak Greek fluently or if you struggle to not forget your native language: You are a member of the Hellenic family. That is the message of Common Hellenism. Wherever you are, whatever you experience, do not ever forget that.

He [Jonathan M. Hall] concludes, however, that regional identities were always a weak concept compared to the state identities of individual poleis, descent-based identities as Dorians or Ionians, and to an over-arching sense of common Hellenism ... It is clear, however, that there were many sub-divisions and competing identities within this common Hellenism.

Kathryn Lomas, “Introduction,” in: Kathryn Lomas (ed.), Greek Identity in the Western Mediterranean. Mnemosyne Supplementum 246. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004, pp. 3 and 7.

 

Internally, however, along with individual constitutions and laws, each polis had its own cults, and each was a community of its citizens and could forge its separate culture ... The shared and common Hellenism expressed itself through regional and polis variations on the theme.

Rosalind Thomas, “The classic city,” in: Robin Osborne (ed.), Classical Greece: 500-323 BC, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 71.

 

The enemy was distinctly recognizable, as was the cost of submission: economic servitude and loss of autonomy. In the face of such a clear and present danger, many of the Greeks acknowledged their common Hellenism and agreed to work together to defend it.

James Romm, Herodotus, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1998, p. 197.

 

There are to be found no innovations in constitutional theory, no extension of the criteria of citizenship, no mergers of autonomy within a common Hellenism, no binding alliances, and no ideology of subordination beyond recognition of de facto sovereignty and the obvious need to preserve the safety of koinonia.

W. G. Runciman, Doomed to extinction. The polis as an evolutionary dead-end, in: Oswyn Murray and Simon Price (eds.), The Greek City from Homer to Alexander, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 354.

 

The narrow escape from Persian domination brought the Greeks a new sense of pride in their common Hellenism. Together with this came a sober and realistic assessment of man's place in the universe.

Jane Sweeney, Tam Curry and Iannis Tzedakis (eds.), The Human Figure in Early Greek Art, Athens: Greek Ministry of Culture, 1988, p. 54.

 

The forms of the letters in Greek inscriptions and the spelling vary according to locality, for there was diversity of alphabet and dialect in the various Greek states; that is, there were minor differences within the larger groups of Doric, Ionic, and Western. Moreover, the letters changed from period to period, and often help to place an object chronologically. In fact, in epigraphy, as in other branches of Greek art, the independence of individual states, as well as their common Hellenism, is apparent.

Gisela M. Richter, A Handbook of Greek Art: A survey of the visual Arts of Ancient Greece, New York: Phaidon, 1969, 6th edition, p. 389.

 

Hellenism: Autochthonous, Indigenous, Ethnic, Native


The terms “Autochthonous,” “Indigenous” and “Native” have been used and are still used in literature and in the academic discourse to designate Hellenic culture, ancient and contemporary. Furthermore they are used to address single components of Hellenic culture such as religion (“polytheism”), music, language or architectural style. They are also self-chosen terms by ethnic Hellenes. However, some individuals outside the scientific community, especially on the internet, are questioning the validity of these terms when it comes to Hellenes. In this context, the term “ethnic” or “ethnic Hellenic” is also seen as problematic by people who are unaware of its history and etymology.

The objections raised can only be explained by an unfamiliarity with the meanings of the terms used for describing those ethno-cultural groups whose members maintain the original language, cults and customs of their countries or countries of origin.

This article is intended to set things right and explode erroneous assertions, both regarding the aforementioned terms as well as Hellenic culture itself. To this end, quotations from academic sources concerning various periods and aspects of Hellenic culture were selected to demonstrate the legitimate use of these terms in regards to Hellenism. The focus is on the legitimate use of terms only.

As a result of this selection, it becomes apparent that the misgivings in this respect are empirically unfounded. All the following citations are from books written and edited by non-Greek authors. Citations from Greek authors have been omitted only to avoid anything which could arouse the suspicion of a biased attitude. This decision is in no way intended to depreciate the academic work and contribution of Greek scholars.

All terms are treated individually and in alphabetical order. The quotations are listed in chronological order. Emphasis was added by me.

AUTOCHTHONOUS

“The autochthonous Greek religion had been successful for centuries and had repeatedly been able to adapt to different conditions.”

Ina Wunn, Davina Grojnowski: Religious Speciation: How Religions Evolve, Berlin: Springer, 2019, p. 155.

 

Autochthonous Greek, Aramaic (Targum), and Arabic translations of the Samaritan Torah have been produced over the centuries.”

Monika Schreiber: The Comfort of Kin: Samaritan Community, Kinship, and Marriage, Boston/Leiden: Brill, 2014, p. 22.


“Medusa, the only Gorgon sister who was mortal. Strategically located in the myth out beyond Ocean, in the space of the external and the elsewhere, far more repugnant, with her bristling, serpentine locks, than any other monster, she freezes and paralyzes. According to the legend of Perseus—a real autochthonous Greek hero, he—her deadly weapon is her gaze.”

Adriana Cavarero: Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009, p. 7-8.

 

“The Podocataro family, one member of which is explicitly mentioned in the 26 October 1452 document, is a distinguished example of the autochthonous Greek element.”

Laura Balleto: Ethnic Groups, Cross-Social and Cross-Cultural Contacts of Fifteenth Century Cyprus, in: Benjamin Arbel (ed.): Intercultural Contacts in the Medieval Mediterranean, London/Portland: Frank Cass, 1996, p. 41.

 

“The autochthonous Greek population on the two Turkish islands in the Aegean was not to be subjected to compulsory exchange. Similarly, the compact Turkish settlement in Greek western Thrace was exempted from this exchange.”

Ferenc A. Váli: Bridge across the Bosporus: The Foreign Policy of Turkey, Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971, p. 260.

ETHNIC

“Herodotus emphasized the last three factors – ancestry myth, history, and culture – in his Histories as the definition of ethnicity, creating the foundations for Hellenic ethnic self-determination for all Hellenes overseas or in Aegean poleis.”

Rachel J. Mittelman: Macedonian, Greek, or Egyptian? Navigating the royal additive identities of Ptolemy I Soter and Ptolemy II Philadelphus, in: Aaron W. Irvin (ed.): Community and Identity at the Edges of the Classical World, New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2021, p. 120.

 

“The fourfold typology of Greek, sub-Hellenic ethnic, regional, and polis identities, developed in the introduction, has proved a productive way to approach the complexities of identity in the Greek world. Hellenic and polis identities were not the same thing, nor were regional or ethnic identities, since each of these produced qualitatively different experiences for the communities involved.”

Mark R. Thatcher: The Politics of Identity in Greek Sicily and Southern Italy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, p. 249.

 

For that reason ethnic Hellenes living in the region could also be identified as Syrians. So there are Syrian Greeks and Greek Syrians. What they were not, however, were Jews.

Guy MacLean Rogers: For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews Against Romans, 66-74 CE, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2021, p. 583.

 

“The Ionians, on the other hand, are more manifestly subordinated to Athens as hegemonic power: the traditional idea of the relationship between Athens as metropolis and independent Ionian colonies of heterogeneous ethnic (Hellenic) composition (ch. 3C) is replaced by one of direct descent and divine sanctions (cf. Smarczyk (1990) 616, J. Hall (1997) 56, (2002) 204); this gives extra strength to moral claims that the colonies owe loyalty and obedience (on which cf. Thuc. 1.25.3-26.3, Miller (1997) 272-5, Graham (1983) 213-15).”

Gunther Martin: Euripides – 'Ion': Edition and commentary, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2018, p. 534.

 

“Florin Curta notes that Julian's ethnic Hellenism derives from his Neoplatonist interpretation of ethnic diversity, the theory that each ethnos is assigned an ethnic god by the Demiurge.”

Ari Finkelstein: The Specter of the Jews. Emperor Julian and the Rhetoric of Ethnicity in Syrian Antioch, Oakland: University of California Press, 2018, p. 19.

 

“This may mean, of course, that the mints were being staffed in this period by workers whose Greek-language skills were marginal—either ethnic Hellenes who were losing their language or Central Asians not altogether fluent in Greek.”

Frank L. Holt: Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, p. 181.

 

“Like the traditions of the rape of the Sabine women and Romulus's asylum, Dionysius's Rome was also open to outsiders; the difference, however, lies in the fact that Dionysius's ‘outsiders’ were all ethnic Hellenes who managed to establish a truly panhellenic community in Italy—a community that later Greek generations would try and fail to recreate.”

Daniel S. Richter: Cosmopolis: Imagining Community in Late Classical Athens and the Early Roman Empire, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 114.

 

“On the other hand, to maintain that it was in the act of such ‘switching’ that a speaker became conscious of his or her linguistic (and hence ethnic) Hellenic heritage, it would need to be shown that there was an awareness of a common Hellenic language, spoken from one end of the Mediterranean to the other.”

Jonathan M. Hall: Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002, p. 115.

 

“Greek philosophy, like its main rival, rhetorical education, sought to provide a cultural common ground supportive of pan-Hellenic ethnic identity.”

Thomas Bridges: The Culture of Citizenship: Inventing Postmodern Civic Culture, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994, p. 132.

INDIGENOUS

“It compares Cassandra's prophetic function with that of the indigenous Greek Pythia – in the process invoking another shady domain of Apollo.”

Emily Pillinger: Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, p. 65.

 

“Aeschylus was seen to extend his call for patriotism of a concrete political or military nature and, through the Persians, for more tangible connections with current events, such as the continuing movement for the liberation of indigenous Greek territories that remained under Ottoman Turkish occupation.”

Gonda Van Steen: Greece: A History of Turns, Traditions and Transformations, in: Betine van Zyl Smit (ed.): A Handbook to the Reception of Greek Drama, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, p. 206-7.

 

“The most important origins of rupture that the Byzantine intelligentsia also noted were the impact of Roman culture on indigenous Hellenic traditions in the remote past and, especially, the impact of the fall of Constantinople in their own time.”

Han Lamers: Greece Reinvented: Transformations of Byzantine Hellenism in Renaissance Italy, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015, p. 271.

 

“It is an indigenous Greek conception that forms the central theme in Juliet du Boulay's studies of the cyclical symbolism in relation to marriage and death, for the ‘dance’ (choros) to which the villagers refer is the traditional round dance, which takes the form of an open-ended circle or ring and is always led ‘counterclockwise’ in an auspicious, right-handed, circular movement, as people define ‘towards the right’ (dexia); that is, the path of life, in keeping with the importance of the circle imagery within Greek culture in general.”

Evy Johanne Haland: Greek Festivals, Modern and Ancient: A Comparison of Female and Male Values, Vol. II, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, p. 90.

 

“The style and the motifs overall are determinedly late antique and Hellenistic: a fully indigenous Hellenism.”

Aziz al-Azmeh: The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allah and His People, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 507.

 

Indigenous Greek classifications of divine beings into gods, daimones, heroes, and the dead claim archaic pedigrees. According to one tradition, it was Thales who first established the tripartite division between gods, daimones and heroes.”

Irene Polinskaya: A Local History of Greek Polytheism: Gods, People and the Land of Aigina, 800-400 BCE, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013, p. 75.

 

“What is not clear, however, is whether Aphrodite developed as an indigenous Hellenic goddess on Greek soil (and, if so, when), or whether, she emigrated to Greece from outside the Greek-speaking world sometime before or during the eighth century BC.”

Monica S. Cyrino: Aphrodite, New York: Routledge, 2010, p. 18.

 

“The sacrifice connects the Near Eastern tradition of the Flood with the indigenous Greek tradition of anthropogony, since Zeus sent Hermes to ask Deukalion what he would like to have.”

Jan Bremmer: Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008, p. 114.

 

“What we see at ‘Amra’ is an indigenous Hellenism that is local, not alien. The Dionysus that appears on the walls of Amra is the Arab Dionysus of the Nabataeans, the Dionysus whom Nonnos brought to Arabia, and the Dionysus of the Sepphoris mosaic.”

G. W. Bowersock: Hellenism and Islam, in: Eva Hoffmann (ed.): Late Antique and Medieval Art of the Mediterranean World, Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007, p. 93.

 

“The Phrygian mother goddess Cybele probably came to Greece via Ionia. She was assimilated with the indigenous Greek ‘Great Mother’, also known as ‘The Mother of the Gods’ or simply the ‘Mother’, and while Cybele's iconography – particularly her lion – became well established, the name ‘Cybele’ itself never appears to have gained widespread use.”

Matthew Dillon: Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion, London: Routledge, 2002, p. 154.

 

“The Greek, and more particularly Athenian, custom of pronouncing epitaphioi for the war dead collectively  had by Roman times lapsed into a purely literary and archaizing genre, but the development of the individual, or idios, funerary discourse during the Second Sophistic may nevertheless have drawn chiefly on indigenous Greek models.”

David Konstan: How to Praise a Friend: St. Gregory of Nazianzus's Funeral Oration for St. Basil the Great, in: Thomas Hägg and Philip Rousseau (eds.): Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity, Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000, p. 166.

 

“Of course, the prevailing view regarding the birth of Mycenaean culture is that it developed from the previous Middle Helladic civilization, and grew out of indigenous Hellenic elements. The Middle Helladic tradition is clear in the tomb types, as well as in the life style, the settlement patterns, domestic objects, but also in a few of the weapons and precious vessels.”

Richard Hubbard Howland (ed.): Mycenaean Treasures of the Aegean Bronze Age Repatriated (Proceedings from a Seminar Sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of the Greek Heritage and Held at the Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. on January 27, 1996.) Washington, D.C.: Society for the Preservation of the Greek Heritage, 1997, p. 22.

 

“The expected Greek victory did not come, however, as resurgent Turkish forces under Kemal Ataturk pushed the Greek forces out of Asia Minor in September 1921 and, along with them, the indigenous Greek populations.”

Keith R. Legg, John M. Roberts: Modern Greece: A Civilization on the Periphery, London: Westview Press, 1997, p. 36.

 

“All this was due not only to its economic strength and State organisation, but to a strong, indigenous Hellenic tradition of loyalty to the State and its divine rulers, and a long acceptance of State bureaucracy and management.”

Stephen Williams: Diocletian and the Roman Recovery, New York: Routledge, 1996, p. 215.

 

“Despite this elaborate demonology, there existed no indigenous Greek category corresponding to ‘the Devil.’ There was no prince of evil.”

Charles Stewart: Demons and the Devil: Moral Imagination in Modern Greek Culture, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991, p. 149.

 

“This period of Greek history is known as the Hellenistic Age (from the spread of indigenous Hellenic culture over a large part of the ancient world) and it was during this age that the philosophies called Cynicism, Stoicism and Epicureanism arose.”

R. J. Hollingdale: Western Philosophy: An Introduction, New York: Taplinger Pub. Co., 1979, p. 90.

 

Yet it is such elements which formed the religious substrate that left its mark not only on the indigenous Greek inhabitants but also on the people of Crete, and which was to a large extent assimilated in Mycenaean religious practice.

Bernard C. Dietrich: The Origins of Greek Religion, Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1974, p. 8.

 

“Christianity, for example, derived its inspiration not from indigenous Hellenic sources but from a proletariat which had been forcibly conscripted into the Hellenic society from the remnants of the Syriac society; its inspiration is therefore Syriac and alien to the Hellenic society.”

Edward DeLos Myers: Education in the Perspective of History, New York: Harper, 1960, p. 26.

NATIVE

By the mid-second century b.c.e. the island was under the control of Athens, and many of Delos' native Greek cults were maintained.

Jon D. Mikalson: Ancient Greek Religion, 3rd ed., Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2022, p. 194.

 

There are no known examples in which a native Greek speaker learned Syriac. Thus, there is no example of imposition by native Greek speakers. With native Syriac speakers, there was a continuum of knowledge of Greek.

Aaron M. Butts: Language Change in the Wake of Empire: Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2016, p. 39.

 

“Jay Fisher clarifies the ways in which the Excerptiones de arte grammatica Anglice of the Anglo-Saxon scholar Aelfric sought to bridge the pedagogical gap between the world of the sixth-century grammarian Priscian (a pagan whose pedagogy was designed for native Greek speakers) and his own world of Christian Anglo-Saxons.

Elizabeth P. Archibald, William Brockliss, Jonathan Gnoza: Introduction: “Learning me your language”, in: Elizabeth P. Archibald, William Brockliss, Jonathan Gnoza (eds.): Learning Latin and Greek from Antiquity to the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 5-6.

 

The vocabulary of modern Greek is similarly intricate: the largest part consists of native Greek words derived from the ancient lexicon, mostly via the Hellenistic koine and the modern dialects of the Peloponnese, on which the modern standard language is based.

Stephen Colvin: A Brief History of Ancient Greek, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014, p. ix.

 

“Friedrich Hölderlin was, along with Goethe, Germany's greatest poet; but it was his epistolary novel Hyperion, whose protagonist is a romantic idealist devoted to the regeneration of his native Hellenic culture, that most fascinated the young Nietzsche.”

Graham Parker: Introduction, in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. Graham Parker, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. xii.

 

“Posidon, a native Greek god—though not originally of the sea—is more prominent at Pylos even than Zeus; in the epic poems he escaped most indignities.”

Michael Grant: The Myths of the Greeks and Romans, New York: Penguin Books, 1995, p. 57.

 

If within the Greek world the study of the architecture of the Roman age is complicated by an essential duality of direction between the native Hellenic tradition and Roman, when we turn to the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean world and to the lands that lay beyond it the duet becomes a trio, if not indeed a chorus of mixed voices.

John Bryan Ward-Perkins: Roman Imperial Architecture, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981, p. 307.

 

“The term Hellenistic, therefore, properly refers to an amalgam of Greek and oriental customs and motifs which contrasts with the earlier native Hellenism of the fifth century.

Finley Hooper: Greek Realities: Life and Thought in Ancient Greece, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1967, p. 422.