In ancient Greece, there were many different philosophical schools that sought to understand the nature of the universe, the gods, the human condition, and the purpose of life. Exploring these philosophical schools offers insights into how the ancient Greeks thought about the gods and the world.
Ultimately, it is for you to decide which philosophical school, if any, resonates the most and how you can incorporate their ideas into your practice. Below you will find some resources to help you in that, chosen for their relevance to our theological context.
It isn't practical to give a full overview of all ancient Greek philosophical schools in this space, but here's a quick run down of a few to get you started:
Pre-Socratic philosophers: were interested in understanding the natural world
Sophists: emphasised practical skills and rhetorical techniques.
Platonists: believed in the existence of a transcendent realm of eternal truths. One of the most theologically focussed ancient schools.
Peripatetics: the school of Aristotle emphasised empirical observation and logic.
Cynics: rejected conventional social norms and values.
Stoics: emphasised self-control and living in accordance with nature.
Epicureans: believed that pleasure was the highest good, but that true pleasure could only be attained through modest and simple pleasures.
The Pythagoreans: were focused on the study of mathematics, music, and the underlying order and harmony of the universe, which they believed reflected the divine nature of reality.
An exploratory series of videos and an open anthology of readings tracing threads in ancient Mediterranean thought, circling the twin themes of psychological self-knowledge (gnothi seauton) and self-care (epimeleia tou heautou).
Comes with a reader for those who want to follow along closely.
Foundations, Worldview & Cosmology
But those with the courage to have lived three times in either realm, while keeping their souls free from all unjust deeds, travel the road of Zeus
to the tower of Kronos, where ocean breezes blow round
the Isle of the Blessed, and flowers of gold are ablaze, some from radiant trees on land, while the water
nurtures others; with these they weave garlands for their hands and crowns for their heads,
in obedience to the just counsels of Rhadamanthys, whom the great father keeps ever seated at his side, the husband of Rhea, she who has
the highest throne of all.
– Pindar, Olympian 2 (Loeb)
Platonism discusses the nature of the gods, the concept of the divine, and the relationship between the divine and human beings. As well as topics such as the immortality of the soul, the idea of divine justice, and the nature of reality.
On Superstition trans. F.C Babbitt
Isis and Osiris trans. F.C Babbitt
The E at Delphi trans. T. Browne
Oracles at Delphi No Longer Given in Verse
trans. Prickard (revised)
The Obsolescence of Oracles
trans. F.C Babbitt
On the Sign (daimon) of Socrates trans. P.H. De Lacy and B. Einarson
Stoic ideas have had a significant impact on Hellenic polytheist theology, particularly in discussions of ethics, virtue, and the nature of the divine. Many modern practitioners find inspiration in Stoic philosophy and strive to incorporate its teachings into their spiritual practices.
The Philosophy of Stoicism – Massimo Piggliucci
Stoicism as a Philosophy for Ordinary Life – Massimo Piggliucci
Stoic Philosophy Explained - Philosophy Tube
The Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius – Einzelgänger
What is Apatheia, Ataraxia, and Eudaimonia – Einzelgänger
The Stoics on the Gods – Martiana
Stoicism – Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy