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Edited by Laurent Bricault and Corinne Bonnet

Panthée presents a collective reflection relating to the changes that affected the Graeco-Roman Empire and over the long term altered its religious landscapes. Fifty years after the foundation of the series EPRO, the volume aims to avoid the division between the supposedly "Roman" or "Graeco-Roman" and the "Oriental" by linking the available information relating the different major areas, such as the relation between local and global, the place of emotions in relation to soteriological and initiatory aspects, strategies of integration and negotiation of identities. For the first time the leading specialists in every field bring their approaches into contact with one another, and jointly construct a picture of practices and conceptual frames, which, in their diversity and inter-action, model a religious universe whose complexity will help to understand our modern globalising world.

Panthée propose une réflexion collective sur les mutations qui ont affecté l'Empire gréco-romain et ont progressivement remodelé ses paysages religieux. Cinquante ans après la création de la collection des EPRO, ce livre ambitionne de dépasser le clivage entre ce qui serait "romain", ou "gréco-romain", et ce qui serait "oriental" en articulant les données disponibles autour de quelques thèmes majeurs, comme les jeux d'échelle entre local et universel, la place du registre des émotions en relation avec les dimensions sotériologiques et mystériques, les stratégies d'intégration et de négociation des identités. Pour la première fois, les meilleurs spécialistes venus de tous les horizons croisent leurs approches et construisent ensemble un tableau des pratiques et des cadres de pensée qui, dans leur diversité et dans leur interaction, dessinent les contours d'un univers religieux dont la complexité aide à penser le monde moderne de la globalisation.

Practicing Gnosis

Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature. Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson


Edited by April DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner

Ritual, magic, liturgy, and theurgy were central features of Gnosticism, and yet Gnostic practices remain understudied. This anthology is meant to fill in this gap and address more fully what the ancient Gnostics were doing. While previously we have studied the Gnostics as intellectuals in pursuit of metaphysical knowledge, the essays in this book attempt to understand the Gnostics as ecstatics striving after religious experience, as prophets seeking revelation, as mystics questing after the ultimate God, as healers attempting to care for the sick and diseased. These essays demonstrate that the Gnostics were not necessarily trendy intellectuals seeking epistomological certainities. They were after religious experiences that relied on practices. The book is organized comparatively in a history-of-religions approach with sections devoted to Initiatory, Recurrent, Therapeutic, Ecstatic, and Philosophic Practices. This book celebrates the brilliant career of Birger A. Pearson.

Worlds Full of Signs

Ancient Greek Divination in Context


Kim Beerden

Worlds Full of Signs compares Greek divination to divinatory practices in Neo-Assyrian Mesopotamia and Republican Rome. It argues that the character of Greek divination differed fundamentally from that of the two comparanda. Ample attention is given to background and method at first. Subsequent chapters discuss the divinatory elements – sign, homo divinans, and text, relating divination to time and uncertainty. This book brings together sources originating from various times and places, questioning these to consider both generalities of ancient divination and specifics of Greek divination. Greek divination was inherently flexible on many levels: these findings should be connected to Greek views on time and the future as well as the relatively low level of divinatory institutionalization.


F. Gerald Downing

Articulate first century Mediterranean society, Jewish and Christian included, expressly favoured harmonious order in society, in individuals, in communication, and in thought. Its common basis was the patriarchal family, the rule of law, rational self-control, and rational thought. Yet there was also resistance to oppressive and unjust order in all spheres; and while law could be held educative, yet there were substantial first century critiques of law, not just Paul’s, and awareness that judicial procedures could be chaotic and biassed. Strands of such dissidence appear in Jesus and in Paul, with significant relevance for any understanding of the early Christian movement(s) and contemporary Judaism(s) in Graeco-Roman context, but also with important implications for any practical reflections and application.


Nicola F. Denzey

In Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity, Nicola Denzey Lewis dismisses Hans Jonas' mischaracterization of second-century Gnosticism as a philosophically-oriented religious movement built on the perception of the cosmos as negative or enslaving. A focused study on the concept of astrological fate in “Gnostic” writings including the Apocryphon of John, the recently-discovered Gospel of Judas, Trimorphic Protennoia, and the Pistis Sophia, this book reexamines their language of “enslavement to fate (Gk: heimarmene)” from its origins in Greek Stoicism, its deployment by the apostle Paul, to its later use by a variety of second-century intellectuals (both Christian and non-Christian). Denzey Lewis thus offers an informed and revisionist conceptual map of the ancient cosmos, its influence, and all those who claimed to be free of its potentially pernicious effects.

Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism

Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament


Edited by Stanley E. Porter and Andrew Pitts

In Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism, Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts assemble an international team of scholars whose work has focused on reconstructing the social matrix for earliest Christianity through reference to Hellenistic Judaism and its literary forms. Each essay moves forward the current understanding of how primitive Christianity situated itself in relation to evolving Greco-Roman Jewish culture. Some essays focus on configuring the social context for the origins of the Jesus movement and beyond, while others assess the literary relation between early Christian and Hellenistic Jewish texts.

Renaissance Encounters

Greek East and Latin West


Edited by Marina S. Brownlee and Dimitri H. Gondicas

The present volume has grown out of the conference held at Princeton University on November 12-14, 2009. Its essays explore a coherent, interrelated nexus of topics that illuminate our understanding of the cultural transactions (social, political, economic, religious and artistic) of the Greek East and Latin West: unexpected cultural appropriations and forms of resistance, continuity and change, the construction and hybridization of traditions in a wide expanse of the eastern Mediterranean. Areas that the volume addresses include the benefits and liabilities of periodization, philosophical and political exchanges, monastic syncretism between the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, issues of romance composition, and economic currency and the currency of fashion as East and West interact.
Contributors are Roderick Beaton, Peter Brown, Marina S. Brownlee, Giles Constable, Maria Evangelatou, Dimitri Gondicas, Judith Herrin, Elizabeth Jeffreys, Marc D. Lauxtermann, Stuart M. McManus, John Monfasani, Maria G. Parani, Linda Safran, Teresa Shawcross and Alan M. Stahl.


Edited by Ilinca Tanaseanu-Döbler and Marvin Döbler

Although religious education is a much-debated topic in present-day History of Religions, its study focuses almost exclusively on contemporary phenomena. Furthermore, this field of study still lacks a comprehensive theoretical framework to structure research. The volume presented here explores religious education from a historical perspective, focusing on source material from pre-modern Europe. Scholars from the History of Religions, Theology, Classical Philology, Medieval Studies and Byzantine Studies contribute their expertise to analyse selected aspects of religious education in Antiquity, Byzantium and the Middle Ages, highlighting the diverse concepts of education, educational contents, actors, media, methods, ideals and intentions at play, and anchoring their case studies in the broader panorama of European history. Based on this material, the editors propose a systematic framework to map the research field.

La raison des signes

Présages, rites, destin dans les sociétés de la méditerranée ancienne


Stella Georgoudi, Renée Koch Piettre and Francis Schmidt

Comment prévoir l’inconnu et contrôler l’inattendu ? Les Anciens ont tenté de répondre à ces questions en interprétant des signes dans lesquels il reconnaissaient des messages divins. Ce recueil permet de comparer la diversité de leurs questionnements dans les sociétés polythéistes ou monothéistes de la Méditerranée antique. Il interroge premièrement la construction rituelle des signes au sein des institutions divinatoires ; deuxièmement, des phénomènes naturels spontanés, qui, apparus hors de toute institution, ont néanmoins valeur de présages ou d’avertissements ; troisièmement, l’intentionnalité manifestée à travers l’intervention divine dans l’histoire des peuples ou les vies singulières ; quatrièmement, l’épistémologie des signes dans des élaborations philosophiques ou théologiques qui éclairent la tension entre données oraculaires et contrôle ritualisé des signes, entre données révélées et argumentations raisonnées visant à neutraliser les injonctions du destin.

How to foresee the unknown and master the unexpected? Ancient people tried to answer those questions by interpreting signs considered as divine messages. In this volume, the writers compare and examine this manifold questioning in the polytheistic and monotheistic societies of the ancient Mediterranean Sea. In the first place, it is shown how signs were ritually constructed within instituted practice of divination ; second, how, although some spontaneous natural phenomena appeared out of any instituted context, may nevertheless constitute omens or monition ; third, how the gods’ intervention may reveal a sort of intention in the course of national history or individual life ; finally, the essays study the epistemology of signs at work in some philosophical or theological elaborations, which may enlighten the tension between oracular evidence and ritual control of signs, and between revealed facts and reasoning arguments intending to neutralize the injunctions of the divine.

Ancient Angels

Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire


Rangar Cline

Although angels are typically associated with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ancient Angels demonstrates that angels (angeloi) were also a prominent feature of non-Abrahamic religions in the Roman era. Following an interdisciplinary approach, the study uses literary, inscriptional, and archaeological evidence to examine Roman conceptions of angels, how residents of the empire venerated angels, and how Christian authorities responded to this potentially heterodox aspect of Roman religion. The book brings together the evidence for popular beliefs about angels in Roman religion, demonstrating the widespread nature of speculation about, and veneration of, angels in the Roman Empire