|dc.description.abstract||This thesis is an investigation into Herodotus’ views about the gods and how they
relate to human life and history, and particularly how narrative and theology interact.
It is divided into four chapters:
Chapter one (The History of Herodotean Theology) falls into two parts. In the first I
outline the reception of Herodotus’ theological views from antiquity to the present,
focusing on the warners’ statements that ‘the divinity is phthoneros’, the subject of
controversy since Plutarch. I explore the role of contemporary rhetorical and
religious pressures in forging various interpretative traditions, and trace their
evolution over the last five centuries of scholarship. The second part examines the
assumptions and approaches of more recent scholarship to the problems that arise in
Chapter two (Religious Discourses in the Histories) develops our understanding of
Herodotus’ theological inconsistencies, which have increasingly come to dominate
discussion of Herodotean religion. I make the case that Herodotus uses various
theological discourses or registers, which are (literally interpreted) quite
incompatible. I explore the influence of narrative style, narratorial persona, and
context upon Herodotus’ theological assumptions and vocabulary, before considering
the question of his own ‘belief’.
Chapter three (The Phthonos of Gods and Men) offers my own analysis of the much-disputed
concepts of ‘divine φθόνος’ and ‘νέμεσις’ in the Histories and classical
Greek more widely. I begin by examining the use of phthonos in the context of
humans from Homer to the fourth century. I then offer a close analysis of the
meaning and significance of the five speeches that assert that ‘the divinity is
phthoneros’ (or phthoneei), which precede or refer back to the most dramatic
reversals of fortune in the work.
Chapter four (Theology in the Croesus Logos) analyses the treatment of theology in
the Croesus logos. It explores how Herodotus crafts a coherent narrative while
negotiating the numerous theological principles of his contemporary world and
narrative tradition. I argue that Croesus’ character and the deceptive oracles that
force him to campaign are commonly misread, largely due to attempts to interpret the
story on a quite different narrative patterning that is compatible with anachronistic
principles of divine ‘benevolence’ or ‘divine justice’.
The Epilogue draws together the themes discussed in the previous chapters, with
some comments on the relationship between literature and theology more generally.||en