The Fear of God: An Emotion and Its Contexts

Angelos Chaniotis
Institute for Advanced Study
December 8, 2010

In Greek religion, the encounter between mortals and gods was dominated by fear. The belief in the power of gods was based on experience and enhanced through rituals. Cult regulations, narratives of punitive miracles, confession inscriptions, and funerary curses allow us to study how the fear of god was constructed, justified, and aroused through narratives and rituals. Angelos Chaniotis discusses how the public display and recitation of such inscriptions contributed to the construction and transmission of the concept of the divine in the Hellenized East.