(thee-oh-TREP-tick) An adjective, characterizing an action done in such a way as to suggest divine guidance. Derived from the Greek word θεότρεπτος, meaning “turned or directed by the gods.”

The word ‘inspired’ can be used in a similar fashion, but it is limited by three things 1) it is more often used with no suggestion of actual divine influence (which is why we often specify ‘divinely inspired’), 2) it is rarely used of a noncreative activity (so, we are unlikely to hear “hey Joe, your woodchopping was truly inspired!”), 3) it inherently suggests that the thing inspired is desirable/positive.

‘Theotreptic’ specifies that the action in question is guided, stimulated, directed, etc., by some external divine force, regardless of either the desirability or creativeness of the action. The Iliad is full of theotreptic actions, as the gods take turns using mortals like chess pieces, e.g. when Achilles avoids fighting Hector, Apollo makes Aeneas “go forth to face the son of Peleus, and he put into him great might… he breathed great might into the shepherd of the host, and he strode amid the foremost fighters.”

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