Universalism is a philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A community that calls itself universalist may emphasize the universal principles of most religions, accept others in an inclusive manner, it is centered on the belief in a universal reconciliation between the divine. Christian Universalism is focused on the idea of universal reconciliation. Known as universal salvation, it is a doctrine stating that every human soul will be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy. A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in Universalism; the living truth is seen as more far-reaching than the national, cultural, or religious boundaries or interpretations of that one truth. As the Rig Veda states, "Truth is one. Unitarian Universalism emphasizes that religion is a universal human quality, focuses on the universal principles of most religions, it accepts all religions in an inclusive manner. In philosophy, universality is the notion that universal facts can be discovered and is therefore understood as being in opposition to relativism.
In certain religions, universalism is the quality ascribed to an entity whose existence is consistent throughout the universe. Moral universalism is the meta-ethical position; that system is inclusive of all individuals, regardless of culture, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature. Moral universalism is opposed to moral relativism. However, not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor do they value monism. Many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist. Other forms such as those theorized by Isaiah Berlin, may value pluralist ideals. Universalism is not only a set of values, but a worldview to which any can subscribe if they observe and believe in the universality of the human experience—and that of all sentient life—and work to uphold the principles and actions that safeguard these fundamental things. Indeed, many Universalists may be attracted to the logic of universally applicable principles, rather than any belief or dogma.
Human unity and the perceived need for a sustainable and conscious global order are among the tendencies of non-religious Universalist thought. In Bahá'í belief, a single God has sent all the historic founders of the world religions in a process of progressive revelation; as a result, the major world religions are seen as divine in origin and are continuous in their purpose. In this view, there is unity among the founders of world religions, but each revelation brings a more advanced set of teachings in human history and none are syncretic. Within this universal view, the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith; the Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people with regard to race, colour or religion. Thus, because all humans have been created equal, they all require equal opportunities and treatment. Hence the Bahá'í view promotes the unity of humanity, that people's vision should be world-embracing and that people should love the whole world rather than just their nation.
The teaching, does not equate unity with uniformity. Operating on a worldwide basis this cooperative view of the peoples and nations of the planet culminates in a vision of the practicality of the progression in world affairs towards, the inevitability of, world peace; the fundamental idea of Christian Universalism is universal reconciliation – that all humans will be saved. They will enter God's kingdom in Heaven, through the grace and works of the lord Jesus Christ. Christian Universalism teaches that an eternal Hell does not exist, that it was not what Jesus had taught, they point to historical evidence showing that some early fathers of the church were universalists, attribute the perpetuating idea of hell to eternal mistranslation. Universalists cite numerous Biblical passages. In addition, they argue that an eternal hell is both unjust, against the nature and attributes of a loving God; the remaining beliefs of Christian Universalism are compatible with the fundamentals of Christianity God is the loving Parent of all peoples, see Love of God.
Jesus Christ reveals the nature and character of God, is the spiritual leader of humankind. Humankind is created with an immortal soul, which death can not end—or a mortal soul that shall be resurrected and preserved by God. A soul which God will not wholly destroy. Sin has negative consequences in this life or the afterlife. All of God's punishments for sin are remedial. None of such punishments will result in the permanent destruction of a soul; some Christian Universalists believe in the idea of a Purgatorial Hell, or a temporary place of purification that some must undergo before their entrance into Heaven. In 1899 the Universalist General Convention called the Universalist Church of America, adopted the Five Principles: the belief in God, Jesus Christ, the immortality of the human soul, the reality of sin and universal reconciliation. Universalist writers such as George T. Knight have claimed that Universalism was a held view among theologians in Early Christianity; these included such important figures such as Alexan
Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god and instead characterizes a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity. Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions; the term "pantheism" was coined by mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697 and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations. Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza his book Ethics. A pantheistic stance was taken in the 16th century by philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno. Pantheism derives from θεός theos; the first known combination of these roots appears in Latin, in Joseph Raphson's 1697 book De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito, where he refers to the "pantheismus" of Spinoza and others.
It was subsequently translated into English as "pantheism" in 1702. There are a variety of definitions of pantheism; some consider it a philosophical position concerning God. Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an immanent God. All forms of reality may be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it; some hold. To them, pantheism is the view that the God are identical. Early traces of pantheist thought can be found within the theology of the ancient Greek religion of Orphism, where pan is made cognate with the creator God Phanes, with Zeus, after the swallowing of Phanes. Pantheistic tendencies existed in a number of early Gnostic groups, with pantheistic thought appearing throughout the Middle Ages; these included a section of Johannes Scotus Eriugena's 9th-century work De divisione naturae and the beliefs of mystics such as Amalric of Bena and Eckhart. The Roman Catholic Church has long regarded pantheistic ideas as heresy. Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who evangelized about an immanent and infinite God, was burned at the stake in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition.
He has since become known as a celebrated pantheist and martyr of science, an influence on many thinkers. In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese descent raised in the Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam, he developed controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine, was excluded from Jewish society at age 23, when the local synagogue issued a herem against him. A number of his books were published posthumously, shortly thereafter included in the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books; the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work would not be realized for many years - as the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe. In the posthumous Ethics, "Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.".
In particular, he opposed René Descartes' famous mind–body dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate. Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy, he was described as a "God-intoxicated man," and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance. This view influenced philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all." Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy and one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers. Although the term "pantheism" was not coined until after his death, he is regarded as the most celebrated advocate of the concept. Ethics was the major source. Heinrich Heine, in his Concerning the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, remarked that "I don't remember now where I read that Herder once exploded peevishly at the constant preoccupation with Spinoza, "If Goethe would only for once pick up some other Latin book than Spinoza!"
But this applies not only to Goethe. In their The Holy Family Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels notes, "Spinozism dominated the eighteenth century both in its French variety, which made matter into substance, in deism, which conferred on matter a more spiritual name.... Spinoza's French school and the supporters of deism were but two sects disputing over the true meaning of his system...." In George Henry Lewes's words, "Pantheism is as old as philosophy. It was taught in the old Greek schools — by Plato, by St. Augustine, by the Jews. Indeed, one may say that Pantheism, under one of its various shapes, is the necessary consequence of all metaphysical inquiry, when pushed to its logical limits; the dreamy contemplative Indian, the quick versatile Greek, the practical Roman, the quibbling Scholastic, th
Western esotericism called esotericism and sometimes the Western mystery tradition, is a term under which scholars have categorised a wide range of loosely related ideas and movements which have developed within Western society. These ideas and currents are united by the fact that they are distinct both from orthodox Judeo-Christian religion and from Enlightenment rationalism. Esotericism has pervaded various forms of Western philosophy, pseudoscience, art and music, continuing to affect intellectual ideas and popular culture; the idea of grouping a wide range of Western traditions and philosophies together under the category, now termed esotericism developed in Europe during the late seventeenth century. Various academics have debated how to define Western esotericism, with a number of different options proposed. One scholarly model adopts its definition of "esotericism" from certain esotericist schools of thought themselves, treating "esotericism" as a perennialist hidden, inner tradition.
A second perspective sees esotericism as a category that encompasses movements which embrace an "enchanted" world-view in the face of increasing disenchantment. A third views Western esotericism as a category encompassing all of Western culture's "rejected knowledge", accepted neither by the scientific establishment nor by orthodox religious authorities; the earliest traditions which analysis would label as forms of Western esotericism emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity, where Hermetism and Neoplatonism developed as schools of thought distinct from what became mainstream Christianity. Renaissance Europe saw increasing interest in many of these older ideas, with various intellectuals combining "pagan" philosophies with the Kabbalah and Christian philosophy, resulting in the emergence of esoteric movements like Christian theosophy; the seventeenth century saw the development of initiatory societies professing esoteric knowledge such as Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, while the Age of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century led to the development of new forms of esoteric thought.
The nineteenth century saw the emergence of new trends of esoteric thought that have come to be known as occultism. Prominent groups in this century included the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Modern Paganism developed within occultism, includes religious movements such as Wicca. Esoteric ideas permeated the counterculture of the 1960s and cultural tendencies, from which emerged the New Age phenomenon in the 1970s. Although the idea that these varying movements could be categorised together under the rubric of "Western esotericism" developed in the late eighteenth century, these esoteric currents were ignored as a subject of academic enquiry; the academic study of Western esotericism only emerged in the late twentieth-century, pioneered by scholars like Frances Yates and Antoine Faivre. Esoteric ideas have meanwhile exerted an influence in popular culture, appearing in art, literature and music; the concept of the "esoteric" originated in the second century AD with the coining of the Ancient Greek adjective esôterikós.
The term "esotericism" thus came into use in the wake of the Age of Enlightenment and of its critique of institutionalised religion, during which time alternative religious groups began to disassociate themselves from the dominant Christianity in Western Europe. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the term "esotericism" came to be seen as something, distinct from Christianity, which had formed a subculture, at odds with the Christian mainstream from at least the time of the Renaissance; the French occultist and ceremonial magician Eliphas Lévi popularized the term in the 1850s, Theosophist Alfred Percy Sinnett introduced it into the English language in his book Esoteric Buddhism. Lévi introduced the term l'occultisme, a notion that he developed against the background of contemporary socialist and Catholic discourses. "Esotericism" and "occultism" were employed as synonyms until scholars distinguished the concepts. The concept of "Western esotericism" is a modern scholarly construct rather than a pre-existing, self-defined tradition of thought.
In the late seventeenth century, several European Christian thinkers presented the argument that certain traditions of Western philosophy and thought could be categorised together, thus establishing the category, now called "Western esotericism". The first to do so was de: Ehregott Daniel Colberg, a German Lutheran who wrote Platonisch-Hermetisches Christianity. A hostile critic of various currents of Western thought that had emerged since the Renaissance—among them Paracelsianism and Christian theosophy—in his book he labelled all of these traditions under the category of "Platonic–Hermetic Christianity", arguing that they were heretical to what he saw as true Christianity. Despite his hostile attitude toward these traditions of thought, he was the first to connect these disparate philosophies and study them under one rubric recognising that these ideas linked back to earlier philosophies from late antiquity. In Europe during the eighteenth century, amid the Age of Enlightenment, these esoteric traditions came to be categorised under the labels of "superstition", "magic", "the occult", terms which were used interchangeably.
The Abrahamic religions referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious communities of faith that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham. The Abrahamic religions are monotheistic, with the term deriving from the patriarch Abraham. Abrahamic religion spread globally through Christianity being adopted by the Roman Empire in the 4th century and Islam by the Islamic Empires from the 7th century. Today the Abrahamic religions are one of the major divisions in comparative religion; the major Abrahamic religions in chronological order of founding are Judaism in the 7th century BCE, Christianity in the 1st century CE, Islam in the 7th century CE. Christianity and Judaism are the Abrahamic religions with the greatest numbers of adherents. Abrahamic religions with fewer adherents include the faiths descended from Yazdânism, the Druze faith, Bábism, the Bahá'í Faith, Rastafari; as of 2005, estimates classified 54% of the world's population as adherents of an Abrahamic religion, about 32% as adherents of other religions, 16% as adherents of no organized religion.
Christianity claims 33% of the world's population, Islam has 21%, Judaism has 0.2% and the Bahá'í Faith represents around 0.1%. It was suggested by Louis Massignon that the phrase "Abrahamic religion" means that all these religions come from one spiritual source. Paul the Apostle referred to Abraham as the "father of us all". There is a Quranic term, millat Ibrahim,'religion of Ibrahim', indicating that Islam sees itself as standing in a tradition of religious practice from Abraham. Jewish tradition claims that the Jews are descended from Abraham, adherents of Judaism derive their spiritual identity from Abraham as the first of the three "fathers" or biblical Patriarchs: Abraham and Jacob. All the major Abrahamic religions claim a direct lineage to Abraham, although in Christianity this is understood in spiritual terms: Abraham is recorded in the Torah as the ancestor of the Israelites through his son Isaac, born to Sarah through a promise made in Genesis. Most Christians affirm the ancestral origin of the Jews in Abraham, but, as gentiles, they consider themselves as grafted into the family tree under the New Covenant: see significance of Abraham for Christians for details.
It is the Islamic tradition. Jewish tradition equates the descendants of Ishmael, with Arabs, while the descendants of Isaac by Jacob, later known as Israel, are the Israelites. Adam Dodds argues that the term "Abrahamic faiths", while helpful, can be considered misleading, as it conveys an unspecified historical and theological commonality, problematic on closer examination. While there is commonality among the religions, in large measure their shared ancestry is peripheral to their respective foundational beliefs and thus conceals crucial differences. For example, the common Christian beliefs of Incarnation and the resurrection of Jesus are not accepted by Judaism or Islam. There are key beliefs in both Islam and Judaism that are not shared by most of Christianity, key beliefs of Islam and the Bahá'í Faith not shared by Judaism; the appropriateness of grouping Judaism and Islam by the terms "Abrahamic religions" or "Abrahamic traditions" has been challenged. In 2012, Alan L. Berger, Professor of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University, in his Preface to Trialogue and Terror: Judaism and Islam after 9/11 wrote that there are "commonalities", but "there are essential differences between the Abrahamic traditions" both "historical and theological".
Although "Judaism birthed both Christianity and Islam", the "three monotheistic faiths went their separate ways". The three faiths "understand the role of Abraham" in "differing ways", the relationships between Judaism and Christianity and between Judaism and Islam are "uneven"; the three traditions are "demographically unbalanced and ideologically diverse". In 2012, Aaron W. Hughes published a book about the category Abrahamic religions as an example of "abuses of history." He said that only the category "Abrahamic religions" has come into use and that it is a "vague referent." It is "largely a theological neologism" and "imprecise" term. Combining the Jewish and Muslim religions into this one category might serve the purpose of encouraging "interfaith trialogue", but it is not true to the "historical record". Abrahamic religions is "an ahistorical category". There are "certain family resemblances" among these three religions, but the "amorphous" term Abrahamic religions prevents an understanding of the "complex nature" of the interactions among them.
Furthermore, the three religions do not share the same story of Abraham. For these and other reasons, Hughes argued that the term should not be used, at least in academic circles. One of Judaism's primary texts is the Tanakh, an account of the Israelites' relationship with God from their earliest history until the building of the Second Temple. Abraham is hailed as the father of the Jewish people. One of his great-grandsons was Judah, from whom the religion gets its name; the Israelites were a number of tribes who lived in the Ki
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief. In an narrower sense, atheism is the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists; the etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek ἄθεος, meaning "without god". In antiquity it had multiple uses as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society, those who were forsaken by the gods, or those who had no commitment to belief in the gods; the term denoted a social category created by orthodox religionists into which those who did not share their religious beliefs were placed. The actual term atheism emerged first in the 16th century. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope.
The first individuals to identify themselves using the word atheist lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution, noted for its "unprecedented atheism," witnessed the first major political movement in history to advocate for the supremacy of human reason; the French Revolution can be described as the first period where atheism became implemented politically. Arguments for atheism range from the philosophical to historical approaches. Rationales for not believing in deities include arguments that there is a lack of empirical evidence, the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, the rejection of concepts that cannot be falsified, the argument from nonbelief. Nonbelievers contend that atheism is a more parsimonious position than theism and that everyone is born without beliefs in deities. Although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere. Since conceptions of atheism vary, accurate estimations of current numbers of atheists are difficult.
According to global Win-Gallup International studies, 13% of respondents were "convinced atheists" in 2012, 11% were "convinced atheists" in 2015, in 2017, 9% were "convinced atheists". However, other researchers have advised caution with WIN/Gallup figures since other surveys which have used the same wording for decades and have a bigger sample size have reached lower figures. An older survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 2004 recorded atheists as comprising 8% of the world's population. Other older estimates have indicated that atheists comprise 2% of the world's population, while the irreligious add a further 12%. According to these polls and East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of atheism. In 2015, 61 % of people in China reported; the figures for a 2010 Eurobarometer survey in the European Union reported that 20% of the EU population claimed not to believe in "any sort of spirit, God or life force". Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism, contesting what supernatural entities are considered gods, whether it is a philosophic position in its own right or the absence of one, whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection.
Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism, has been contrasted with it. A variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism; some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god. The plurality of wildly different conceptions of God and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism's applicability; the ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities. This view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity. With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. Definitions of atheism vary in the degree of consideration a person must put to the idea of gods to be considered an atheist.
Atheism has sometimes been defined to include the simple absence of belief. This broad definition would include newborns and other people who have not been exposed to theistic ideas; as far back as 1772, Baron d'Holbach said. George H. Smith suggested that: "The man, unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god; this category would include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved, but, still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist." Implicit atheism is "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it" and explicit atheism is the conscious rejection of belief. For the purposes of his paper on "philosophical atheism", Ernest Nagel contested including mere absence of theistic belief as a type of atheism. Graham Oppy classifies as innocents those who never considered the question because they lack any understanding of what a god is. According to Oppy, these could be one-month-old babies, humans with severe traumatic brain injuries, or patients with advanced dementia.
Philosophers such as Antony Flew and Michael Martin have contrasted positive (st
Transparency, as used in science, business, the humanities and in other social contexts, is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. Transparency implies openness and accountability. Transparency is practiced in companies, organizations and communities. For example, a cashier making change after a point of sale transaction by offering a record of the items purchased as well as counting out the customer's change on the counter demonstrates one type of transparency; the term transparency has a different meaning in information security where it is used to describe security mechanisms that are intentionally in-detectable or hidden from view. Examples include hiding utilities and tools which the user does not need to know in order to do their job, like keeping the remote re-authentication operations of Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol hidden from the user. In Norway and in Sweden, tax authorities annually release the "skatteliste" or "tax list".
Regulations in Hong Kong require banks to list their top earners – without naming them – by pay band. In 2009, the Spanish government for the first time released information on how much each cabinet member is worth, but data on ordinary citizens is private. Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly. All draft documents, all arguments for and against a proposal, all final decisions, the decision making process itself are made public and remain publicly archived; this approach has grown in popularity with the rise of the Internet. Two examples of organizations utilizing this style are Indymedia. Corporate transparency, a form of radical transparency, is the concept of removing all barriers to —and the facilitating of— free and easy public access to corporate information and the laws, social connivance and processes that facilitate and protect those individuals and corporations that join and improve the process. Accountability and transparency are of high relevance for non-governmental organisations.
In view of their responsibilities to stakeholders, including donors, programme beneficiaries, staff and the public, they are considered to be of greater importance to them than to commercial undertakings. Yet these same values are found to be lacking in NGOs; the International NGO Accountability Charter, linked to the Global Reporting Initiative, documents the commitment of its members international NGOs to accountability and transparency, requiring them to submit an annual report, among others. Signed in 2006 by 11 NGOs active in the area of humanitarian rights, the INGO Accountability Charter has been referred to as the “first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector”. In 1997, the One World Trust created an NGO Charter, a code of conduct comprising commitment to accountability and transparency. Media transparency is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means. If the media and the public knows everything that happens in all authorities and county administrations there will be a lot of questions and suggestions coming from media and the public.
People who are interested in a certain issue will try to influence the decisions. Transparency creates an everyday participation in the political processes by the public. One tool used to increase everyday participation in political processes is freedom of information legislation and requests. Modern democracy builds on such participation of the media. There are, for anybody, interested, many ways to influence the decisions at all levels in society; the right and the means to examine the process of decision making is known as transparency. In politics, transparency is used as a means of holding public officials accountable and fighting corruption; when a government's meetings are open to the press and the public, its budgets may be reviewed by anyone, its laws and decisions are open to discussion, it is seen as transparent. It is not clear however if this provides less opportunity for the authorities to abuse the system for their own interests; when military authorities classify their plans as secret, transparency is absent.
This can be seen as either negative. While a liberal democracy can be a plutocracy, where decisions are made behind locked doors and the people have fewer possibilities to influence politics between the elections, a participative democracy is more connected to the will of the people. Participative democracy, built on transparency and everyday participation, has been used in northern Europe for decades. In the northern European country Sweden, public access to government documents became a law as early as 1766, it has been adopted as an ideal to strive for by the rest of EU, leading to measures like freedom of information laws and laws for lobby transparency. To promote transparency in politics, Hans Peter Martin, Paul van Buitenen and Ashley Mote decided to cooperate under the name Platform for Transparency in 2005. Similar organizations that promotes transparency are Transparency International and the Sunlight Foundation. A recent political movement to emerge in conjunction with the demands for transparency is the Pirate Party, a label for a number of political parties across different countries who advocate freedom of information, direct democracy, network neutrality, the free sharing of knowledge.
21st century culture affords a h
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l