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This article explores the conceptualization of religious symbols in both classical scholarship on ancient Greek religion and social anthropology as indicative of where the two disciplines currently stand in relation to each other. Rather than addressing the much debated concept of "thick description," the article focuses on Geertz's considerably less explored notion of "religion as a response to chaos." The article ultimately promotes an approach that sees religious symbols as intrinsic to socio-political power. A look at the cultural practice of the "recycling" of symbolic capital at Athens after the restoration of democracy in 403 B.C.E. exemplifies the explanatory power of this approach for the study of ancient Greek religion.