Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World

From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity


This first volume of the new Brill series “Ancient Philosophy & Religion” is a collection of articles by scholars of Classics, Ancient Philosophy, and Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. The articles are based on papers presented at two colloquia on the interface between Ancient Philosophy and Religion at the universities of Aarhus and Cambridge. They focus extensively on Platonic philosophy and piety and sketch an emerging religio-philosophical discourse in ancient Judaism (both in the Sibylline Oracles and 4 Maccabees). Furthermore, this volume studies Seneca’s religio-philosophical understanding of 'consolation', compares early depictions of Jesus with those of ancient philosophers, and, finally, reconsiders responses of pagan philosophers to Christianity from the second century to Late Antiquity.
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Biographical Note

Anders Klostergaard Petersen (Gold medal Dissertation Aarhus, 1994) is Professor of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University. He has published extensively on early Christ-religion, late Second Temple Judaism, method and theory in the humanities and social sciences, and biocultural evolution.

George van Kooten (PhD Leiden, 2001) is Professor of New Testament & Early Christianity at the University of Groningen and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. He has published widely on the Graeco-Roman setting of the New Testament, including monographs on Paul’s cosmology (Mohr, 2003) and anthropology (Mohr, 2008).

Table of contents


Part I: Plato
1 Plato’s Philosophy – Why Not Just Platonic Religion?
Anders Klostergaard Petersen

2 Platonic Piety: ‘Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again’
Frisbee Sheffield

3 The Real Euthrypho Problem, Solved
Nicholas Denyer

4 Religion, Philosophy, and the Demons in Between
Lars Albinus

Part II: Explorations in an Emerging Common Discourse
5 Philosophical Traces in the Sibylline Oracles
Helen Van Noorden

6 Philosophy and Religion and Their Interactions in 4 Maccabees
Anders Klostergaard Petersen

7 The Rapprochement of Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Consolation: Seneca, Paul, and Beyond
Christoph Jedan

Part III: Placing Jesus Among the Philosophers
8 Jesus Among the Philosophers
Bernhard Lang

9 The Last Days of Socrates and Christ
George van Kooten

10 Criticism of Verbosity in Ancient Philosophical and Early Christian Writings
Daniele Pevarello

Part IV: Reconsidering Early Pagan-Christian Relations
11 Christians According to Second-Century Philosophers
Simon Gathercole

12 Epictetus’ Views on Christians – A Closed Case Revisited
Niko Huttunen

13 Plotinus, Origenes, and Ammonius on the ‘King’
Harold Tarrant

14 Neo-Platonic Readings of Embodied Divine Presence: Iamblichus and Julian
Ilinca Tanaseanu-Döbler


All interested in the discourse between ancient philosophy and religion in Antiquity, both within, and between Greco-Roman culture, ancient Judaism, and early Christianity.