Eleusinian Mysteries: Some Documents

Clement of Alexandria/ Exhortations to the Greeks, 2.21

Hippolytus of Rome. Refutation of All Heresies, 5.7.34 and 5.7.39

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Herodotus. 8.65. The story told by Dicaeus.

Aristophanes. Frogs 311-459

Plutarch of Chaeronea. Progress in Virtue (De Profectu in Virtute), 10 (81DE)

In the same way that people being initiated into the mysteries (of Demeter) gather together in confusion and shouting  and push and shove each other at the start, but as the sacred rites are being performed and revealed, everyone becomes quickly attentive in awe and silence, 

so it is at the start of the study of philosophy: at the gates one also sees a great crowd and lots of talking and boldness, while some people impolitely and violently try to push and shove themselves towards the fame philosophy brings; but the individual who successfully enters the gates and sees a great light, as if a sacred place were opened, that person takes on a silent and awestruck disposition, and pays attention to reason in a humble and orderly fashion, the way one would pay attention to god.

This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.

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