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 Book Review - Greek Religion

Greek Religion

By Walter Burkert
Translated by John Raffan
March 1987
Paperback, 493 pages
Harvard University Press
ISBN 0674362810

If you have a serious interest in learning about Greek mythology and religion in depth, then we highly recommend that you read scholar Walter Burkert's acclaimed book Greek Religion.

Quite simply, the aptly named Greek Religion is one of the essential works on the subject. Burkert analyzes the various aspects of the religion of the ancient Greeks and offers scholarly explanations for the possible origins of many gods and goddesses. Indeed, entire sections are devoted to discussing each of the Olympians - there are illuminating descriptions of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Dionysos, Hephaistos, and Ares. Semi-divine heroes such as Heracles and the Dioskouroi receive attention as well. Burkert also reveals the meaning and function of these legendary gods and heroes in the Classical world.

In addition to the compelling essays about the divinities who inspired the imaginations of the Greeks, the author also explores other important issues in this book. Festivals - such as the Anthesteria and the Thesmophoria - that were held in honor of individual deities are described in detail. There is also an intriguing chapter devoted to 'Ritual and Sanctuary' in which Burkert examines that role that offerings, rituals, and sacrifice played in the ways that the Greeks worshipped their gods.

Ultimately, this book is the classic resource for anyone with a passion for Greek myth and religion.

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This book has established itself as a masterpiece, packed with learning but also rich in ideas and connections of every sort. Its appearance in a good English translation is an event not only for Hellenists but for all those interested in the study of religion...nobody else could have produced an account of the subject of comparable range and power. This will be the best history of Greek religion for this generation.

Greek Religion

Art & Myth in Ancient Greece

This book is an essential resource for anyone interested in ancient Greek art and mythology. With over 370 illustrations of Greek gods, goddesses, heroes, and heroines, this book contains a wealth of information about the relationship between myth and art.

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