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Aristotle on Religion


  • Author: Mor Segev, University of South Florida
  • Date Published: August 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108401012

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About the Authors
  • Aristotle is a severe critic of traditional religion, believing it to be false, yet he also holds that traditional religion and its institutions are necessary if any city, including the ideal city he describes in the Politics, is to exist and flourish. This book provides, for the first time, a coherent account of the socio-political role which Aristotle attributes to traditional religion despite his rejection of its content. Mor Segev argues that Aristotle thinks traditional religion is politically necessary because it prepares the ground for what he considers the pinnacle of human endeavor: attaining the knowledge of first philosophy, whose objects are real beings worthy of being called gods. Developing this interpretation, Segev goes on to analyze Aristotle's references to the myths of traditional Greek religion, and to assess his influence on medieval Jewish and Christian theology and philosophy of religion.

    • Provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the evidence concerning Aristotle's view of religion and its function
    • Investigates and resolves issues surrounding apparent inconsistencies among key works including the Politics, Ethics, and Metaphysics
    • Places Aristotle's view of religion in its historical context and traces its influence on subsequent, particularly medieval, thought, making this book important for historians of philosophy and theology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Here is the problem: Aristotle seems clearly to reject the traditional Olympian gods. His own conception of god (see especially Metaphysics) seems to have no religious significance; for whatever else this god knows (a subject of much debate), it certainly does not know particulars, including humans and their characters, actions, and futures … In Aristotle on Religion, Segev superbly lays out the problem and offers a solution that does not attempt to resurrect the Olympian gods, and that goes beyond mere social stability.' Robert Mayhew, Journal of the History of Philosophy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108401012
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.279kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Aristotle's rejection of the content of traditional religion
    2. Traditional religion and its natural function in Aristotle
    3. Humans, 'eternal humans' and Gods: the usefulness of traditional Gods for the imitation of the divine
    4. Aristotle on the possible uses of the myths of 'the Ancients'
    5. The influence of Aristotle's view of religion on medieval Jewish and Christian thought
    6. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Mor Segev, University of South Florida
    Mor Segev is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Florida. His work includes articles published or forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Polis, History of Philosophy Quarterly and Classical World.

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