Taking seriously critiques of historiography produced in recent decades, Vaia Touna advocates for an alternative approach to the way the past is studied. From Euripides’ tragedy
Hippolytus, to the notion of voluntary associations in the Greco-Roman world, to the authenticity of traditional villages in Greece,
Fabrications of the Greek Past argues that meanings (and thus identities) do not transcend time and space, and neither do they hide deep in the core of material artifacts, awaiting to be discovered by the careful interpreter. Instead, this book demonstrates that meanings are always relative to their present-day context; they are historical products created by social actors through their ever-contemporary acts of identification.
“By disturbing the notion of an easily knowable Greek past, Touna makes an invaluable contribution to critical scholarship regarding ancient cultures and to contemporary theory about ideological uses of history.”
- Naomi Goldenberg, University of Ottawa
“From an insider to Greek tradition, expert in its modern appropriations and translations,
Fabrications is an important stimulus to metatheory and self-reflexivity in the study of religion, ancient and contemporary.”
- Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa
“Vaia Touna expertly dissects modern discourses on the past, arguing that our contemporary interests don't just
color our accounts of the past, they
constitute them. A fantastic book.”
- Brent Nongbri, author of
Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
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.