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Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature (Homage Series) [Paperback]

Sarah Iles Johnston
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 1990 1555404278 978-1555404277
Hekate is best known to classicists and historians of religion as the horrific patroness of witches. But from the Hellenistic age onwards, some Greek and Roman philosophers and magicians portrayed her quite differently, allotting to her such duties as ensouling the cosmos and the individual men within it, forming the connective boundary between the divine and human worlds, and facilitating such communication between man and god as could lead eventually to the individual soul's release. She was celestial and potentially beneficent, rather than chthonic and threatening.

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Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature (Homage Series) + Hekate Liminal Rites: A Study of the rituals, magic and symbols of the torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads + Hekate Her Sacred Fires
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Product Details

  • Series: Homage Series (Book 21)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555404278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555404277
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, Respectful and not Patronizing...... December 3, 2005
Sarah Iles Johnston writes in HEKATE SOTEIRA that the emergence in Greek Philosophy of the idea of a transcendent God led to the need for a "mediator" between the supernatural that resided on high and humans on earth, and that the ancient Chaldean Goddess Hekate as the Greek `Soul' fit the description. Hekate dwelt between the high heaven where the "Father" resided and the Earth below (hence her connection with the moon in Greek thought). Examining the works of several ancient scholars, Johnston describes how Hekate evolved in the imagination of the Greeks from Mother Goddess to intercessor to Queen of the Demons who ruled the night.

According to Johnston, who writes most respectfully about Hekate, the key to interpreting what the ancient Greeks believed lies in understanding the meanings of various Greek words as spoken within the Greek dialects (Ionian, Doric, etc.), Johnston, a colleague of Fritz Graf shows how beginning with Plato misunderstanding word meanings led to very different ideas. For example, the original Chaldean word `daemon' apparently had more to do with messages and ideas from the Father on high (transcendent God?), than the underworld creatures who were thought to bring havoc to humans.

I found the connections Johnston made with the early Greeks writing about Hekate and the later works by the church father Augustine illuminating. Hekate was viewed as the holder of the keys according to the Chaldean world view-an attribute transferred to Saint Peter at some point. Hekate was the supernatural being who met a dead soul at the crossroads after death and guided them to one of three places including the Greek versions of heaven and hell or new ensoulment on the Earth.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hekate, a Godess that did not receive her deserves August 3, 2005
At last a real scholarly book about the Godess Hekate.

Mrs. Johnston has researched her subject in depth and has produced one of the best books on this special godess, and i have read almost everything that has been published about Hekate.

I recommend this book, along with the others Mrs. Johnston has writen or edited. She is a true scholar.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Research Material June 13, 2002
By A Customer
It took me a while to find this book, but now that I have it, I am very pleased. The research is wonderful, and this tiny book is filled with information. The foot notes alone would have made me happy but Ms. Johnston, own work adds grestly to the books clarity and depth of understanding. This is a must read for anyone looking into the History of Hekate.
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