Historically, all societies have used comparison to analyze cultural difference through the interaction of religion, power, and translation. When comparison is a self-reflective practice, it can be seen as a form of comparatism. Many scholars are concerned in one way or another with the practice and methods of comparison, and the need for a cognitively robust relativism is an integral part of a mature historical self-placement. This volume looks at how different theories and practices of writing and interpretation have developed at different times in different cultures and reconsiders the specificities of modern comparative approaches within a variety of comparative moments. The idea is to reconsider the specificities, the obstacles, and the possibilities of modern comparative approaches in history and anthropology through a variety of earlier and parallel comparative horizons. Particular attention is given to the exceptional role of Athens and Jerusalem in shaping the Western understanding of cultural difference.
Renaud Gagné is Reader in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College. He has published widely on ancient Greek literature and religion, including Ancestral Fault in Ancient Greece (Cambridge University Press 2013).
Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. He has published extensively on classical literature, especially Greek tragedy, and on Victorian culture, including Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity (Princeton University Press 2011).
Sir Geoffrey Lloyd is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy and Science in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of numerous books and articles on ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy and science, including Analogical Investigations (Cambridge University Press 2015). Contributors are: Matei Candea, Philippe Descola, Renaud Gagné, Simon Goldhill, Anthony Grafton, Caroline Humphrey, Dmitri Levitin, Geoffrey Lloyd, Joan-Pau Rubiés, Jonathan Sheehan, Marilyn Strathern, Guy Stroumsa, Phiroze Vasunia
All interested in the history and practice of cultural comparison, most notably in history, anthropology, Classics, religious studies, and comparative literature.