Monday, December 23, 2013

Studying Delphi

Just before Thanksgiving, I found this amazing booklet at Buckhorn Books for 50¢. Don't we love used bookstores? It's a small book about Delphi, the spot in ancient Greece where the Greeks (and others) went to find out what their gods thought -- an oracle.
Since Julia and I are studying ancient history this year, this book is a perfect fit, so we studied Delphi for a day or two before our break. The booklet has text telling the history of the site, and a lovely map and key showing exactly where everything was on Mt. Parnassos, back in the day.

Julia read the booklet. I dictated some important notes and pertinent points I wanted her to remember. She aced the test I made for her.
See the wonderful map of the place? The large building with the colonnade was Apollo's temple -- he was the Greek god particularly associated with this place, their "god of truth" whom they sought when they wanted to hear their god's word to them. Unfortunately, this word came from the mouth of a girl who sat on a three-legged stool, over a fissure in the earth that emitted noxious gases that made her stoned, and her words were interpreted by priests with ulterior motives, for desperate listeners.
The cluster of buildings on the left are treasuries of various city-states in Greece. Delphi was a rich place, fought over by her enemies and neighbors.
The map key above is quite specific about when various buildings were erected and how much of the structures remain.
While studying Delphi, I'm also reading Jeremiah. I'm reminded that the searching Greeks and their tricky, conniving, lying gods are no different from what's described in the Bible, and Delphi is no different from the high places in the Old Testament where people trekked to find out what their god wanted of them. False prophets abounded then, and wicked priests. Animal and human sacrifices were given. When we homeschooling types study ancient history we occasionally find ourselves enamored of that past and the heros presented. We giggle at Athena and roll our eyes at Aphrodite. But in reality, the Greeks' clinging to those dead gods cost many lives and led ... nowhere, spiritually. It's a dead religion with worship sites that are ruins for tourists.

We should pause and consider our own faith. How do we seek God? Do we listen for his voice around every rock and from every false preacher? Do we make sacrifices that God never asked for -- indeed (as the Bible says) that never came into His mind, trying to appease Him? Are our churches falling into ruin and disuse? Man-made religions seem to die out. Christianity, springing as it does fully from the root of Judaism, traces its life back farther than any. It's sobering to think on these things.

1 comment:

  1. Heck, it's no different than NOW; there are always liars, cheats, idols. We Christians need to realize we'll be held accountable for both actions and lack of actions.
    There are Christian churches being used for pagan worship; God will not be mocked.

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