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The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric

Classroom Exercises

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Edited by Hock and Edward N. O'Neil

Reading, writing an inflected language, and composing an argument were among the skills taught in Greco-Roman schools. At all three curricular levels students developed these skills by learning how to use a literary form known as the chreia, or anecdote. Beginners at the primary level learned to read and write by copying different examples of the chreia. Students at the secondary level used it to learn how to decline nouns and conjugate verbs and form them into grammatically correct sentences. Advanced students learned how to elaborate a simple chreia into an eight-paragraph essay that argued for the truth of whatever saying or action was celebrated in the chreia. This volume incorporates thirty-six texts, most translated for the first time, that illustrate the use of the chreia at all three levels, a use that can be documented from the first century on through late antiquity and the Byzantine world. It demonstrates that people with all levels of education were intimately familiar with this important literary form, which not only preserves the wit and wisdom of famous philosophers, orators, kings, and poets but also explains its pervasive and enduring use in ancient literature

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).
This series, which is the successor to the former SBL Texts and Translations series, publishes translations of ancient texts that are important for scholars and students of religion and not otherwise readily accessible. Texts may be in any ancient language, with priority given to those that date from the period between Alexander and Justinian. Volumes normally include the original text and English translation on facing pages, an introduction with bibliography, short explanatory notes that are not as extensive as those in a full commentary, and appropriate indices. The series also publishes selected texts, translations, and studies of ancient texts.

Solomon the Esoteric King

From King to Magus, Development of a Tradition

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Pablo Torijano Morales

The aim of the present work is to study the esoteric characterization of King Solomon that became popular in certain currents of Judaism and Christianity of Late Antiquity and to establish a typology of it.
Representative texts are analyzed, first to establish precisely the development of the different esoteric traditions linked to King Solomon, and then to show how these texts and traditions are placed in relation within the broad context of Magic and Religion in Late Antiquity.
The book provides data for a better understanding of magic and its role in the Mediterranean Oikumene, suggests the necessity for a better categorization of the magical discipline, and furthers the discussion on the transmission and importance of esoteric traditions withing Judaism and Christianity .

Aegyptiaca Romana

Nilotic Scenes and the Roman Views of Egypt

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Miguel John Versluys

This archaeological study investigates the meaning of the Egyptian and egyptianising artefacts that have been preserved from the Roman world in different ways.
Its point of departure is a detailed study on the so-called Nilotic scenes or Nilotic landscapes. The book presents a comprehensive and illustrated catalogue of the genre that was popular all around the Mediterranean from the Hellenistic period to the Christian era as well as a contextualisation and interpretation.
Drawing on the conclusions thus reached the whole group of Aegyptiaca Romana is subsequently studied. Based on a general overview of this material in the Roman world and, moreover, a case-study of the Aegyptiaca from the city of Rome the different meanings of this cultural phenomenon are mapped. Together with other Egyptian deities popular in the Roman world, the goddess Isis plays an important role in this discussion.
Aegyptiaca Romana, among them the Nilotic scenes, are part of the reflection of the Roman attitude towards and thoughts on Egypt, Egyptian culture and the East. The concluding part of the book illustrates and tries to explain this Roman discourse on Egypt.

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Duncan Fishwick

This volume deals with the institution and evolution of imperial cult at the provincial level from the earliest foundations under Augustus down to the mid-third century A.D.
On the basis of detailed examination of evidence from the different regions or provinces of the Latin west the emphasis of provincial cults can be seen to move first from the living emperor and Roma to the deified emperor, then from a composite cult of living and deified dead emperors to a renewed emphasis on the reigning emperor in the late second and early third centuries.
Analysis is based primarily on the study of epigraphical, numismatic and iconographic evidence, generously illuminated by plates. The volume concludes with a series of essays summarizing the main lines of development in the light of various related issues.

Series:

Duncan Fishwick

This volume analyzes the priesthood of the provincial cult in every province of the Latin west where evidence has survived in the period from Augustus down to the mid third century.
Particular attention is paid to the epigraphic record, notably the Testimony of honorific statues especially at provincial centres, but discussion also focusses on the origin and background of provincial priests, their office and duties, and their careers both before and after holding provincial office.
Of special interest are the sixteen tables that list the main facts preserved by the epigraphic record, also a concluding overview that summarizes the principal features of the institution including the office of priestess and the role of administrative officials. Some fifty plates illustrate the text.

Kykeon

Studies in Honour of H.S. Versnel

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Edited by H.F.J. Horstmanshoff, H. W. Singor, F. T. Van Straten and J. H. M. Strubbe

A collection of papers with new insights on ancient religion, read at a colloquium in honour of Professor H.S. Versnel ("Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion"). The contributions, presented by nine leading scholars in the field, cover many areas of the religious experience of the Greeks and Romans: myth and ritual (W. Burkert), the gods (F. Zeitlin), cult, festivals, sacrifice. Several papers consider methodological problems and the progress of scholarship; they highlight the contribution of H.S. Versnel to the field. The papers are based on a wide range of sources: pagan and Christian, literary and epigraphical and iconographical.
The collection will fascinate all scholars interested in ancient religion, whether they study malign magic, the Imperial cult or general theory.

Collins

John J. Collins offers readers a model for the scholarly study of all aspects of Judaism, from the Persian period through Late Antiqity, including its influence on early Christianity. The essays are thematically grouped to cover the problem of the Canon in Second Temple Judaism and deal with apocalypticism, the Book of Daniel, the Sibylline Oracles, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also analyzed is the relationship between Wisdom and the Apocalypticism. This volume brings together over two decades of research by a leading authority in the field of Judaism.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Descenders to the Chariot

The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature

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James Davila

The Hekhalot literature is a bizarre conglomeration of Jewish esoteric and revelatory texts in Hebrew and Aramaic, produced sometime between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages and surviving in medieval manuscripts.
These texts claims to describe the self-induced spiritual experiences of the "descenders to the chariot" and to reveal the techniques that permitted these magico-religious practitioners to view for themselves Ezekiel's Merkavah as well as to gain control of angels and a supernatural mastery of Torah.
Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological evidence from the Middle East, anthropological models, and a wide range of cross-cultural evidence, this book aims to show that the Hekhalot literature preserves the teachings and rituals of real religious functionaries who flourished in late antiquity and who were quite like the functionaries anthopologists call shamans.

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Anne-France Morand

The book is a study of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of 87 Greek texts in hexameter addressed to various deities. These hymns are closely related to one another and seem to originate in Asia Minor during the first centuries of the Christian era. The great originality of this corpus is that a link can be traced between a set of beliefs, rituals, offerings and mysteries, and a group of believers. Surprisingly the Hymns has been generally neglected.
Les études sur les Hymnes orphiques begins with a study of the genre. The Hymns are essentially composed of long lists of epithets and are therefore distinctive. Through the choice of epithets in the different hymns and a comparision between the different texts it is possible to trace allusions to myths, to rituals and to mysteries related to the gods. This first part also concentrates on the literary ways of expressing religious ideas. The group using this text referred to the legendary figure Orpheus as the composer of the Hymns. It is therefore not surprising to find Dionysos at the center of this text. The basic approach is to compare the content of the Hymns to what we know and do not know about orphism. Questions such as vegetarianism, prohibition of beans, belief in metempsychosis, the content of the mysteries arise. It may seem awkward to find typically orphic gods, such as Protogonos, next to traditional gods and local deities from Asia Minor. Finally, the group was organised and the participants bore titles such as boukolos, the oxherd. A large place is given to epigraphy. The aim is to fit these elements to a definition of orphism during the first centuries of our era and to put together an image of this particular group.
This book will be essential to scholars interested in orphism, in Greek religion, in religion at the beginning of Christianity, in literature and in hymns.