The Ancient Library
 

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INTRODUCTORY 7

The movement is an epitome, under special racial conditions, of the general progress of religious belief, the interaction of ritual and meaning.

The study, then, of the primitive elements preserved in Greek tradition, and the attempt to sketch in outline the ideas which lie behind the religion of the Greece of history, need no apology. The beliefs embodied in what Miss Harrison has called the Lower Stratum must always have played a part in Hellenic life, and to the understanding of the develop­ment of Orphism and the religious philosophies they are of the first importance. In the special field of divination the recognition and analysis of these primitive ideas must modify the attitude with which the phenomena were formerly regarded. No longer content with the theory that divination comes into being in part as the revelation of God to man and in part as an arbitrary invention based upon a mistaken process of reasoning, we must endeavour to seek for its raison d£tre behind the period of Olympian theology, and before the formation of an elaborate science. Approached in this way, I believe that methods of divination can be shown to fall into two great species. On the one hand, there is the

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