Rhizomata 1 (2):168-193 (2013)

Catherine Joanna Rowett
University of East Anglia
Do you need to know the name of the god you're praying to? If you get the name wrong what happens to the prayer? What if the god has more than one name? Who gets to decide whether the name works (you or the god or neither)? What are names anyway? Are the names of the gods any different in how they work from any other names? Is there a way of fixing the reference without using the name so as to avoid the problems of optional names? There is a type of formula used in prayer in ancient Greece which I call (in this paper) a "precautionary formula". The person praying uses expressions like "whether you want to be called [x] or [y]", and "if this is the name by which you would like to be called". I also include here the practice of adding definite descriptions that identify the god by means other than the name (e.g. their place of birth or residence, their deeds etc). In this paper I ask what these formulae were for, why so many occur in philosophical work, particularly Plato, and whether the puzzles about the names of the gods go back to the Presocratics.
Keywords Descriptions  Names  Presocratic Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/rhiz-2013-0008
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,581
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
26 ( #426,657 of 2,461,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #222,958 of 2,461,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes