Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Orpheus and Orphism

  • Marta GreenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_481

The image of Orpheus as a semidivine mythological being and perhaps an actual person has inspired countless works of art for well over two and half millennia. Within the domains of myth and art, he is primarily associated with his renowned abilities as poet and musician. Many versions of his story describe the captivating power his music exerted over anyone or thing near him while he played his cithara. Equally compelling is the story of the death of his newlywed bride, Eurydice, and his journey to the underworld to attempt her retrieval. He also plays a crucial role aboard the Argos accompanying Jason and fellow Argonauts on the quest for the Golden Fleece. Perhaps most intriguing, from the perspective of religious studies, is his purported role as the founder of a non-Hellenic renunciation cult called Orphism that condemned animal sacrifice and produced a large body of works describing a cosmogony and eschatology that stand in sharp contrast to those described in Homer and Hesiod.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercury Pier Publishing, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of ChinaNorth PointHong Kong