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    A Religious Revolution? How Socrates\u27 Theology Undermined the Practice of Sacrifice

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    Mark McPherran and Gregory Vlastos argue that Socrates’ theology threatened Athenian sacrificial practices because it rejected the do ut des principle (aka the principle of reciprocity). I argue that their arguments are flawed because they assume that the Athenians understood sacrifice as something like a commercial transaction. Drawing upon scholarship in anthropology and religious studies, I argue that we need to revise that understanding of sacrifice and that, once we do, McPherran’s and Vlastos’ arguments no longer show that Socrates would have been a significant threat to the practice of sacrifice. Finally, I argue that McPherran’s Socrates does undermine sacrifice, but not for the reasons that McPherran suggests. Rather, he undermines sacrifice by making external actions irrelevant to piety
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