The starting-point of this article was Cornford's essay, ‘A Ritual Basis for Hesiod's Theogony’, recently published in The Unwritten Philosophy. He showed it to me soon after he had written it in 1942. It is only a sketch, but it struck me at once as important, because it opens a new approach to the conclusion he had reached many years before in From Religion to Philosophy. I told him this and begged him to pursue the subject, but he smiled and said, ‘I leave that to you’. Hence the title of this article, which is a tribute to his memory.
His From Religion to Philosophy appeared in 1913. In the same year Eduard Norden published his Agnostos Theos: Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religiöser Rede. In this study, starting from the Sermon on the Areopagus, Norden shows that the Greek and Latin authors employ, in poetry and prose, certain forms of speech, liturgical in origin, which can be traced independently in the Old Testament. The two streams, the Hellenic and the Hebrew, drawn from Babylonia and Egypt, were reunited in Christianity, notably by St. Paul, who, in virtue of his birth and upbringing, was equally well versed in both. Later, in the Byzantine liturgy, they were reinforced by a third stream, the Syrian, of the same ultimate origin.