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[427c] we neither know anything nor in the founding of our city if we are wise shall we entrust them to any other or make use of any other interpreter1 than the God of our fathers.2 For this God surely is in such matters for all mankind the interpreter of the religion of their fathers who from his seat in the middle and at the very navel3 of the earth delivers his interpretation.” “Excellently said,” he replied; “and that is what we must do.”

1 For the exegete as a special religious functionary at Athens. cf. L. and S. s.v. and Laws 759 C-D. Apollo in a higher sense is the interpreter of religion for all mankind. He is technically πατρῷος at Athens (Euthydemus 302 D) but he is πάτριος for all Greeks and all men. Plato does not, as Thümser says (p. 301), confuse the Dorian and the Ionian Apollo, but rises above the distinction.

2 Plato prudently or piously leaves the deatils of ceremonial and institutional religion to Delphi. Cf. 540 B-C, Laws 759 C, 738 B-C, 828 A, 856 E, 865 B, 914 A, 947 D.

3 This “navel” stone, supposed to mark the center of the earth, has now been found. Cf. Poulsen's Delphi , pp. 19, 29, 157, and Frazer on Pausanias x. 16.

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