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17 May 2007

Comments

George

Thanks for tracing some important facts. I'd like to question the central outcome of all this, your main point, that there is a need to keep national traditions and cultural legacy. If this had to be our goal, then we would have never become Christians. Jews also keep their cultural legacy, and this is exactly what prevented them from becoming Christians. The same with muslims, etc.

I see as main problem in Greece and elsewhere not the abandonment of national traditions but the lack of interest in truth and in the searching for the truth. This search for truth in the course of time creates or re-shapes a tradition, or even abandons some traditions for the sake of others. Thus, I believe that we do not need to keep anything, just to have a desire for thinking, searching, wanting the truth.

This is infinitely more difficult than what the Church can do or miss, because it depends to the quality of life each of us has and wants. E.g. if we are enchanted by prosperity and we are becoming blind to the death that awaits our friends, parents, etc, indifferent to give a meaning to this death, whether as a passage to an Other life or otherwise, what value could possibly the Orthodox tratidion have for us?

What we feel for our friend, for our children, for our parents, our relationship with life, if we live significant lives or not - this is what counts, this decides the traditions, and no Church or anyone can save us from leading insignificant lives.

Hermes

What a sad and ridiculous post representative of someone who spends too much time reading American Zionist propaganda like Krauthammer and Podoretz - the same people by the way who were leading the Left of the 1960's but have not suddenly become (Neo) Conservative - where the blame is laid everywhere except at the entity which may be most to blame, the United States its lackeys. For example, one of the most strident proponents of an "international utopia" comes from the Economist - a magazine that surely thinks it sits on the Right, an international pro-capitalist Right. Let me tell you a secret, the True Right, would want nothing to do with their Editorial positions. A couple of points:

-Turkish speaking Greeks from Asia Minor were classified as Greek because they were ethnically Greek - not Turkish but Christian. You fall into the same traps set by the International Left;

-The article also conveniantly ignores the historical fact that the institution which did most to destroy Hellenism was the Church or its proletariat religion, Christianity - a universalist religion which places Jews and their silly revelations above Greeks and their wisdom. If anything, Christianity is simply a metaphysical Communism which lays everyone out as equal before God regardless of their talent or ethnicity;

-There is no such thing as a "Greek Jew", a contradiction in terms if there ever was one - this is another recent construct by yet again, the International Left and their cohorts;

All in all a mindless post (pssst....by a former Leftist) unworthy of the people who civilized humanity.

Hermes

"the central outcome of all this, your main point, that there is a need to keep national traditions and cultural legacy. If this had to be our goal, then we would have never become Christians"

Bravo! Bravo!

Our tradition, the Greek tradition, is the search for Truth. It is part of our national tradition. Christianity is not a search for Truth but security by deception.


Stavros

George,

One of the things that attracted me to your very fine blog, Ellopos, was the access it provided for myself and others to the Greek cultural legacy. Obviously you think its important or you wouldn't be spending your precious time putting together such a tremendous piece of work.

I am not advocating that traditions or culture trump everything else. I agree wholeheartedly that the search for truth, although we can argue ad infinitum about what it is, is a hallmark of the Greek cultural legacy. Finding meaning in our lives requires us to look forward but it also requires us to look backward in order to listen to our ancestors.

Orthodox Christianity places most of its emphasis on preparing us for the next world but it also teaches us how to live in this world. It doesn't prevent us from asking questions but it does require us to make choices about what we believe and how we behave. Our decisions are not irrevocable.

The point I was trying to make, perhaps poorly, is that maintaining the Greek Christian identity is critical to the survival of Greece as a nation. It's not about maintaining traditions for the sake of tradition. I couldn't care less if Greeks continue to use sugar coated almonds at weddings or baptisms. What I fervently pray for is a rebirth of the very worthwhile things that our Holy traditions teach us like the sanctity of life, in the Greek soul. Absent that, then Greece will become just another destination and nothing more.

Hermes,

Contrary to your attribution of all evil to the Great Satan, the same conflict is playing itself out here in America, as it is in Europe and Greece. I realize that you have no use for Christianity however, it does not change the fact that the Orthodox Church played a pivotal role in maintaining the things you love, the Greek identity, the Greek language, Greek learning and it even incorporated Greek philosophy.

Leftist ideologies are not an American invention, I do believe that Europeans came up with most of what passes for Leftist thought.

Everyone is equal before God. A sad thing for some people. This blog has never attempted to paint Greeks as superior, only some of their traits and accomplishments.

Asia Minor Greeks were ethnically Greek by virtue of their Orthodox identity not necessarily their language since SOME of them spoke ONLY Turkish.

The issue of who is a Greek is a difficult one. We've debated it many times. I try to keep my view of who is a Greek, inclusive: they who partake of Greek culture, language or religion should be welcomed into the fold. Some of the best Greeks I know are not ethnically Greek. That said, I still believe that being Orthodox is a key element of Greekness just like language but why should we deny someone's fundamental Greekness because he is not Orthodox (that would preclude a real Greek like you) or because he happens to be a Jew?

The search for truth is fine, can't we agree that your truth may not match mine?

Hermes

Despite his command of the Greek language George needs to read more widely. Maybe he should spend time readng less Apologetics and more philosophy. Real philosophy not Christianity dressed up as pseudo-philosophy.

Stavros,

Read history and read it very very carefully. You will realise what role the Orthodox Church played in Hellenism.

Also, you will realise how the Americans took French Republican ideals and the British parliementary system and corrupted them in the service of the nation they were attempting to build resulting in an ideology which is anti-Right - against blood, against soil, against language, against tradition, against ethnos. Essentially, most of the American project is a Leftist one i.e. altering European man into something which meant leaving behind his Europeaness for a Utopian ideal.

Asia Minor Greeks were Orthodox because they were Greek despite having forgotten the Greek language. It was very difficult for a Turk to convert to Christianity.

Greekness is difficult to define. I consider Carl Sagan a Greek. I hardly consider a Orthodox monk a Greek. He is a fanatic and dogmatist - antithetical to Hellenism.

Greek "Jews" are not ethnically Greek. Nearly all of them a Jews from Spain. And the rest are Jews from Palestine. They are not Hellenes. They are Semites. If we believe they are Hellenes then it is possible in 100 years a Nigerian will be Greek (does this sound like American ideology?).

We may reach different truths but it is the path we take which is important. Greek philosophy or philosophy in general does not assume the answers before we ask the questions. Real search for Truth. Christianity assumes some answers before any questions are asked i.e. the carpenter is the Son of God. Assuming a Truth before we even seek it. They are different and cannot be synthesised without comprimising the other. Got it?

A Christian, due to their nature of their religion, cannot seek Truth. It is contradictory.

Stavros

Hermes,

The American experiment is still a work in progress. I think Americans have much to be proud of in terms of what they accomplished. As Americans we need to be careful about wanting everyone to be like us in a cultural sense. Democracy on the other hand is not an American invention. Exporting democratic ideals to areas of the world that are languishing in misery is praiseworthy. I wouldn't hoist the "blood and soil" banner among Americans anymore than I would seek to expunge the idea from a nation like Greece.

I agree with your statement on Asia Minor Greeks. They were Greek because of their religion. Thanks for confirming my point.

What if Carl Sagan was a Nigerian? Would you still consider him Greek?

If a Jew is Hellenized and considers himself a Greek then I would consider him one also.

This whole issue about Truth intrigues me I think I will write a post about it. We need to continue this debate about Truth later. My time today is limited due to other commitments.

Take care.

ted

Stavros:

This is a fine post. What we often fail to highlight is what I call the "cultural content" of Greek Christianity. This content is being lost as we speak, mostly undermined and exhausted because of both government and private action. Only yesterday, Theodoros Pangalos was raving against the latest constitutional amendment because it failed to remove the provision recognizing Orthodoxy as the "prevalent religion" in Greece. Pasok and the rest of the Greek left smell blood -- and love it. The fatal part is just beginning...

Hermes

Stavros, Americans do not seek to export democracy to the world - the 1950's are long gone when people naively thought America was the beacon of freedom and democracy. Americans seek to open new markets. However, they should concentrate on their own failing democracy and leave the world to sort itself out.

I think we are getting confused about the word "is" more than anything else. I do not want to get into a Heideggerian whirlpool but when I say Carl Sagan is Greek I mean he is Greek in sensibility and therefore he must be admired. A Greek monk is Semitic in sensibility and should be ignored. However, Carl Sagan cannot be ethnically Greek whereas the Greek monk can. Who is more Greek? Carl Sagan cannot change the fact he was born a Jew and therefore he can only be an honorary Greek. A bit like Jesus. Although Jesus is lower on the rung. His IQ was much lower, he tricked people with talk about miracles and false promises, and he did not wear brown turtle neck sweaters. The Greek monk is an apostate but reformable back to Hellenic values. A Nigerian cannot be Greek at all because there are hardly any intelligent Nigerians and they are not ethnically Greek.

Even the non-Christian Greeks turned their back on Truth where they began to seek the "good life". Essentially, we became cowards. Lost our nerve. And then something inconceivable happened, some Greeks turned their backs on their heritage by accepting Christianity who were then followed by opportunists. Sounds kind of familier.

The modern day Greek Internationalist Left are the Christians of yesteryear.

Another Greek American

"Many of them spoke only Turkish and they were classified as Greeks only because they were Orthodox Christians. "

"I agree with your statement on Asia Minor Greeks. They were Greek because of their religion. Thanks for confirming my point."

I must say you fall into the trap which now defines these people as somehow alien. EG what do you mean by "classified"?

Don't you find it a paradox that your entire post leaves out the most important factor in modern Greek history -- the country' use and abuse as a pawn by other states/empires -- yet you throw in the term "classified" without explaining that the classification criteria this was applied by external actors?

There is so much bogus information on this subject in modern historiographies it is incredible and you seem to have fallen for a lot of it.

They were Greek. Period. A huge number did not want to leave because, pardon them, they had lived where they were for millenia, owned land, had roots, and had no desire to go to mainland Greece, which was an economic backwater, and where they were going to get no recompense for the land they were giving up.

The vast majority certainly spoke better Greek than most people from Epirus (no offense). Did quasi demotic speaking illiterate people made fun of the refugees' accents? Sure. Who coined and used the term " Turkospori"? A bunch of "Greeks" who had no idea as to the history of the Greek ethnos.

Vre Stavros -- you have gone NATIVE with these grand models based on your own political bias!

You lay way too many things at the feet of the Greek left. As idiotic as the Greek left is, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Greek right has been functional either.

You also completely leave out the external factors in a number of issues. The Greek civil war was all about external factors.

What is with bringing up Mao? Is this what the Greek left is all about? Might as well then say the Greek right were the collaborators with the Nazis. You can't take natural political factors that are present in every country and define them by their extremes. That is not the language of analysis, it is the language of bias. Rather than illuminate modern Greek history you are falling into the same trap that has damged the historiography.

We've already seen the Greek textbooks lurch from bad to worse in this kind of struggle .

Look at this statement:
"The [communist] party found many willing adherents in the refugee community that came to Greece after the Catastrophe of 1922."

Come on! the right found many willing adherents there too.

Lastly, dear friend, it is strange how the two biggestt cack ups are glossed over. Was it the Greek left that caused the Catastrophe in Asia Minor? Were the guys running the Greek government in 74 waving Mao's little red book? I don't think so.

Using this type of overarching methods the above two examples would show how the Greek right has destroyed the state, the nation and the lives of millions of Greeks.

Let's not apply these simple models.

Stavros

Another Greek American,

First, I am not quite sure how you came to the conclusion that I consider Asia Minor Greeks as alien. I merely tried to accurately reflect their plight after the catastrophe. They fought on both sides of the Civil War but many ended up in EAM/ELAS because they were disenchanted and disillusioned with their life in Greece.

Second, there can be no doubt that foreign powers and outside influences have helped to fashion Greek history. Both the Left and Right in Greece did not develop in a vacuum. They too have been partially shaped by external factors. In my reading of Greek history, however, I do not adhere to the notion that our fate as Greeks has always been governed by great impersonal foreign powers but rather by our own actions in response to these outside pressures. We can blame America and Europe for the predicament that Greece faces currently. That would absolve and ignore what Greeks have done or failed to do.

Third, many in the Greek Right did collaborate with the Nazis (check out the security battalions i.e. the tsoliades during the German occupation). I do not argue that the Right is completely blameless and without sin. They too have blood on their hands. Personally, I abhor extremists of the Left and Right. The reason that I focus on the Greek Left in this post is that they are the ones currently in the forefront of the effort to rewrite Greek history, brainwash Greek youth, and expunge our Greek Christian identity. To avoid bias, I'll concede that the Right has been at best a casual bystander and at worst a willing accomplice.


Peter

Left, right, centre, centre left, centre right, it is all semanticas of the political mental prestigiditation and intellectual flatulence permeating the greek political carcass. We greeks produced an assembly line of philosophers, thinkers, warriors, and attain the zenith of greek development which eventually was transmitted through the hellenic and outside world. We developed democracy, it was developed by greeks, with the greeks and for the greeks. They did not find it necessary to safeguard it against infiltration and minority rule. Eventually genuine greek democracy was usurped and transformed beyond recognition by larger powers and today this fake composite abortion it is masquerading as "universal democracy which ( as an afterthought flattery they say to us it was born in Hellas)and it has become almost a universal religion. All democracies are susceptible to minority takeover and none of them is constitutionally safeguarded against infiltration and alienation.

Likewise with our academies and institutions of learning. The ambience is that of a dunghill of ignominious sedition. The kinders, the youth are developed in accordance to internationaist, atheist ethos and voila we have the new greek citizen, not greeks, but greek citizens which in the present skatocracy context could be a gypsy, a kaffir from nubia, or a transplanted turk.

Unless we turn the educational and breeding ground of these " leftists, communists, internationalist, secularist " enemies upside down and root the evil out, we shall continue approaching the abyss. Religion, unfortunately its not helping matters, it is not even rescuing us spiritually. Our music and dance is now african. Psychic suicide is sought through overwork,abortions, sports mania, and a neurotic overindulgence in smoking and drinking. We emphasize sex play, wear increasingly scanty clothing and sink to lechery by watching and imbibing the wretched filth which the medium of communication feeds us on a daily basis.

We need a cathartic bath, the church could spearhead the spiritual and national ethnic re awakening, but it does not seem to relish the task and slinks back and allows rot to continue.

George

Stavro,

I'm sorry if I sounded a little critical. I appreciate and share, as you notice yourself, your love for tradition. What I wanted to emphasize, is that for this love to remain not as an empty custom, but as a living and creative force, there needs be its foundation, that is love for truth.

Hermes says that to search for truth you must not have it. Who disagrees? I was not born a Christian. Of course, I was baptised, etc., but I found real faith after doubting and searching, passing through many years of not being a Christian.

Wanting to return to pagan Greece, as I explain in a text of mine (cf. http://www.ellopos.net/gr/greeks/default.asp), is just absurd. It wouldn't be possible, even if Christianity were a false religion, since it was Greeks themselves that abandoned their polytheism already in the critique of philosophers as Xenophanes, Plato, Aristotle, etc, and later on they themselves became Christians and remained Christians until today.

As is known, Christianity was a state-supported religion only after the 4th century and having lasted three centuries of persecutions. Those were persecutions against mainly the Greeks, because Christians of the first centuries were mainly Greeks, even in Rome (Cf. http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-orthodox-history.asp)

It is also true that without the Byzantine Fathers we would know today almost nothing of the Classical literature. Some of us may not want even to suppose if Christianity is the truth (just if), but prefer an uncritical attitude, abolishing it without reason. Yet even in such a case, they can not abolish the historical fact that we know and read the Ancient literature because Byzantium saved it, and that we even speak Greek because the Church did everything to have us keep speaking Greek.

Hermes

George, I said that a Christian cannot search for Truth because, and I'll repeat it again, one cannot search for Truth when they already assume the answers i.e. the destitute Jewish carpenter is the Son of God and the Bible is the inviolable truth.

Who claimed a return to pagan Greece? Greeks did not turn their back on their religion, it was slowly modified into Neoplatonism which was almost monotheistic in nature.

I did not know Aristotle, Xenophanes and Plato became Christian. Well, Christian lies have reached a new level where they claim Greek philosophers as Christians!

The Christians of the first centuries were not mainly Greeks. They simply wrote in Greek because it was the lingua franca of the day. Not everyone who wrote in Greek was Greek i.e. Josephus was a Jew.

The Byzantine Fathers only preserved that which suited their Christian purpose. Why do you not mention the discrimination and outright massacres of Greeks following the native religion?

Stavros

George,

You have nothing to be sorry for. I very much appreciate your perspective and I agree entirely that the quest for truth is and should remain the hallmark of Greek thinking. Notwithstanding Hermes view of Christians, if the concept of Theosis is not a search for the elusive ultimate truth I don't know what is. I think he may be suffering a bit from the cultural relativism of the times which holds that there are no absolute truths. It's all good, as they say.

George

Greeks wanted to become Christians, and they became. There were no "massacres" against pagan Greeks, as everyone knows. How was it possible for Christians to suffer three centuries of cruel Roman persecutions and not loose their faith, while pagan Greeks lost their faith by the first blow of a Christian emperor? Even this could make us loose any appreciation of the pagan culture - which, however, had lost its vigour long before Christianity started to spread. The truth is that ancient Greeks had lost their religion (a religion that had become a practice of magic, etc.). This had started from the time of Plato already, and Plato's proposed punishments against magicians were far tougher than those any Christian emperor ever thought.

Hermes thinks that a people can change religion and keep a new religion for two millennia, because of some conspiracy! These things can not happen and they never did. You can think it also otherwsise, by the adoption of communism in Russia. Peoples wanted it to some degree, and again people rejected it after a while. No one can force a whole people to change for two millennia, to have its town full of churches, to baptize its children, to show such a devotion to a particular God, for so much time and through so many difficulties, 4 centuries under the Turks...

We can have various opinions on various matters, but I think this we can not doubt: the Greeks became Christian, of course not Plato himself, I didn't say such a stupidity as Hermes wants me in order to diminish the conversation. No one gains if we ridicule each other in conversation. There was and there can not be a conspiracy to drag a whole people for two millennia: whether some of us like it or not, it was the Greeks as a people that became Christians by themselves.

Hermes

oh Stavros. I see we become less and less Greek everyday. To partake in Christian Theosis requires one to be a Christian i.e. accept the Christian Scriptures as Truth and the Palestinian Rabbi as the Son of God. How can one logically seek Truth when they have already accepted these presuppositions?

There were many massacres of genuine Greeks by Christians who were made up of Dacians, Thracians, Armenians, Latins, Spaniards, Cyrenians, Egpytians, Syrians and some opportunist Greeks.

Following of the native Greek religion endured for many more centures after the maniacal edicts of Theodosios (a non Greek by the way). Also, one may say that Hellenism has endured despite Christianity rather than because of it in the guise of such illustrious Byzantines as Agathias, Psellus, Italos, Sgouros and Plethon.

Please get your historical facts straight otherwise you look foolish.

Magic? What is breaking bread and drinking the blood of Christ but magic? Christianity is full of superstitious rubbish.

Most Greeks were forced to become Christian by the sword. The massacres in Thessaloniki where Agios Dimitrios became venerated were slaughters of Greeks.

George

To Stavros:

Any newspaper, magazine, or even army, makes selections according to its particular criteria. Stupid and ignorant persons have plenty of space in the majority of the websites to express their 'opinions'. Letting them here is not democratic; it just damages the quality of your blog and discourages the best of your readers to participate.

Stavros

George,

You told me that the search for truth is critical. Should we avoid confrontations with those we disagree with? I prefer to keep Hermes around and use him as a training aid. He's quite educational, not because of what he says, just the way he says it. Humanity's divisions are merely played out in our blogs. As Orthodox Christians we cannot shirk from engaging others.

The Cappadocian Fathers in describing God, used the concept of koinonia, meaning fellowship, communion, or relationship. God is openness, exchange, solidarity, and self-giving. Shouldn't we try to emulate his example.

George

Singing Beethoven to a stone is not fellowship but madness.

There can not be discussion and relationship with anyone, not even Christ was able to do it.

If you feel that koinonia is inviting punks to deride your friends, fathers, God himself and any sense of logic and communication, you may do so, it's your blog after all!, but I won't follow.

Hermes

Stavros, George has a nasty authoritarian streak. Follow his website for a while and you will notice he hardly behaves like a Christian is supposed too. And like most people who rely on flimsy ahistorical arguments to push forth an agenda rather than Truth he resorts to straw man arguments to defeat his opponents. Lastly, he relies on confronting unread people (or people who have only read Apologetics) and their ignorance to further his version on unTruth. However, one has only to read independent third party research (not sponsored by the Church or neopagans) by people like Ramsay McMallum or Pierre Chuvin to understand he is wrong. I challenge you to read these books.

Stavros

George,

Part of the beauty of blogs is that we speak to folks we would not normally talk to. Sometimes that can be a frustrating process, even, a waste of time. Sometimes we get something out of it. Perhaps you think I agree with him, that is seldom the case. What I meant by using him as training aid is this. Lots of young Greeks out there are bombarded by the types of things that Hermes is enamored with. If we don't take the opportunity to counteract and speak out against these ideas, as you often do, we have failed. We cede the future to those ideas that are anathema to our friends, fathers and God himself.

We may never convince Hermes to believe otherwise, however, he is not the only person involved. Others are reading and paying attention to what we write. At least I hope they are.

If I start censoring those ideas I disagree with or even dislike, I am placing myself in the position of judge and jury. That is a slippery slope,if ever there was one.

Christ Himself spent considerable time with those on the fringes of Jewish society: the tax collector, the harlot, the centurion, the Samaritan woman. Not justifying sin, He loved sinners with a special love and occupied Himself more with them than with the righteous.

As an Orthodox Christian, with my share of sins to account for, shouldn't I be willing to view the non-Orthodox as people to whom Orthodoxy has not yet been fully revealed or understood, as people who are potentially Orthodox (if only we ourselves would give them a better example!)

I respect your work a great deal and will continue to visit Ellopos.

Peter

Religion, politics , are emotionally charged subjects.

Under all circumstances, civility, decorum and an open mind is called for when tangling with such abstruse and complex concepts as the topic under discussion
The temperature rises in a crescendo when beliefs and credos we have been brought up with are seemingly found wanting or come under a detractor's prism.

When logic is confounded and answers go begging to questions that have haunted the human mind for centuries, tempers begin to fray and discourse becomes tendentious, truculent and intolerant of other contrarian views. That is fine and understandable as long as the discoursants engaged in a robust exchange can take it as well as dish it out, with substantive arguments and corroborating facts,and not an emotional surcharge . However ,when the basic foundation of one's knowledge and wisdom is threatened with opposing views which may hurt one's sensibilities and egos then the typical reactionary strategy ( from the offended party ) of censorhip , bannings, and boycots of ideas that run counter to the challenged principles are set in motion; with a vigorous attempt to silence the discordant notes . Convictions are never changed with mere words. If we are going to have a debate, then we need to allow ourselves to be confronted with the sweet wafting of our own ideas and concepts as well as the unappetizing side of the opponent's views and cosmovision.

Is there darkness ? No there is no darkness, some would say. What is darkness then ? It is the total absence of light, others would say. Therefore if we encourage debate and an exchange of principles in the realm of ideas and truths, it is incongrous, in this context ,to advocate barring the opponent's premises.

Hermes

Again, no one seems able to provide an answer to the question: How can one seek Truth when they have already assumed the answers?

It follows wow can one be a Christian and seek Truth? How can one be a Hellene (where philosophy and politics are their two defining contributions to humanity) and be a Christian at the same time? Why do Greeks invoke Socrates but then live their lives in total contradiction to his ideals? Why did the number of prominent scientists and philosophers during the Byzantine era (from 527AD to 1452AD) decline so rapidly compared to the previous 1000 years?

Why does one not read third party independent research in the role of the Christian Church in slaughtering Greeks?

Why does the Christian religion place Jewish revelation above Greek wisdom?

Why are Greeks beholden to Jewish mental models?

Why do some Greeks worship a God that gives clear preference to another people?

Why do Christian apologists think that anyone challenging their flimsy arguments believe we want to return to a pagan world?

Nevertheless, did not Hinduism and Confucianism make a comeback after Mahayana Buddhism fell into decline in India and China?

Has history ended?

Are we sure that Christian "victory" was divinely inspired or was it good old networking, bureacracy and the implementation of discriminatory laws which won them the day?

Is Christianity a carrier of Hellenic traditions and not really a creator of one?

Were the Cappadocian Fathers original or simply copying the brotherhood that was part of Greek philosophical schools for centuries?


Peter

There are many , many answers; time and space prevent us from a long disquisition on an issue of faith, belief, dogma and historiography. Whatever happened in the past is in the past , we are the carriers of that past. To try and revert the clock it is now impossible. Suffice it to say that the present of Greece is based on christian orthodoxy with a distinct greek flavor. As a staunch orthodx myself, I will not compromise nor brook any of the teachings of the church, which were passed on to us by the conventional upbringing in our homes.

At the same time I equally question the validity or credibility of certain aspects of the divinity story, which upon close and carefull scrutiny throws up again a number of interrogants. For my sake it is too late for me to seriously challenge them or allow it to disturb my peace; but aware of the dissonances, I am.

Much research has been done in the past to determine who Jesus really was and what his task had been. There are a myriad of answers to this singular question which cater to all flavors of critical dissent. Unfortunately most of those attempts have been confined to Israel, since people took it for granted that christianity had begun on jewish soil only. Under those shaky circumstances varying answers can be gleaned which rely entirely on the scrimpy information of the gospels. Almost everything that was said about jesus could be traced to the old testament. That testament deals with jewish history and the myths of the nations with whom the jews had come into contact. On that basis any nation could write an overview of its own history and use the myths of the ancient world to ascribe any god's intervention in the history of a nation. Apart from the evangelists very few other authors have taken the trouble to mention jesus. Josephus, a credible jewish historian, born eight years after the crucifixion, said nothing of the wise men, the nativity or the crucifixion by pontius pilate. May it be probable that Jesus was a mythic being, and never walked this earth, except in the viviv and colorful imagination of saul of tarsus ? There are many facts that have convinced researchers that the gospels are fictitious and that jesus could therefore only be explained mythically because the evangelists did not know him but had only heard of him.
Critics draw attention to the many faults and contradictions in the bible and therefore reject the biblical miracles and divinity of jesus because no explanation has been given why it had happened. Researchers conclude that the motivation of the authors of the books of the new testament is not clear and that the gospels are therefore unreliable as historical documents.

Stavros

Peter & Hermes,

I have to concur with Peter that these issues require more space and time. I will attempt a future post to respond to the assertions you both make.

Hermes

I suggest we revert to one of our most famous poets (note a Greek and not a Jew) to provide something to ponder:

That we've broken their statues,
that we've driven them out of their temples,
doesn't mean at all that the gods are dead.
O land of Ionia, they're still in love with you,
their souls still keep your memory.
When an August dawn wakes over you,
your atmosphere is potent with their life,
and sometimes a young ethereal figure,
indistinct, in rapid flight,
wings across your hills.

-Cavafy

Note the use of "we" signifying a Christian narrater. All Christians know in their hearts the Gods have never gone away!

Si

Για το Σταύρο,
Το να διαλέγεται κανείς πάντοτε με επιείκεια με τους συνομιλιτές του, ακόμη και όταν έχουν ανάγκη από αυστηρότητα, δεν θα ήταν γνώρισμα δασκάλου, αλλά καταστροφέα και εχθρού. Στα πλαίσια αυτά προβάλει ο George το παράδειγμα του Χριστού ο οποίος, όταν απαιτήθηκε από την περίπτωση, είπε ακόμη και στους φίλους του, τους ίδιους τους μαθητές του "Ακμήν και υμείς ασύνετοί εστε;" Καλό κουράγιο Σταύρο. Συγγνώμη για τη δυσκολία που έχω να γράψω στα αγγλικά, αν και μπορώ να τα διαβάζω.

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Searching for Ithaka

  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy

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