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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A077-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Orphism, a speculative trend within Greek religion, claimed the mythical singer Orpheus as founder and prophet. In changing forms, it is in evidence from the 6th century bc to the end of antiquity. Hexameter poems were attributed to Orpheus, especially a theogony about the origin of gods, world and mankind, and sectarian groups led an ‘Orphic life’, practising mystery cults supposedly founded by Orpheus. The main goal was salvation of the soul from evil, traced to ‘ancient guilt’, with a view to a blessed existence after death; this usually included the doctrine of transmigration

Citing this article:
Burkert, Walter. Orphism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A077-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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