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Aetiologies seem to gratify the human desire to understand the origin of a phenomenon. However, as this book demonstrates, aetiologies do not exclusively explore origins. Rather, in inventing origin stories they authorise the present and try to shape the future. This book explores aetiology as a tool for thinking, and draws attention to the paradoxical structure of origin stories. Aetiologies reduce complex ambivalence and plurality to plainly causal and temporal relations, but at the same time, by casting an anchor into the past, they open doors to progress and innovation.
Une analyse comparée de la notion de “démon” dans la Septante et dans la Bible Hébraïque
Author:
This book offers a thorough analysis of demons in the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint in the wider context of the ancient Near East and the Greek world. Taking a fresh and innovative angle of enquiry, Anna Angelini investigates continuities and changes in the representation of divine powers in Hellenistic Judaism, thereby revealing the role of the Greek translation of the Bible in shaping ancient demonology, angelology, and pneumatology. Combining philological and semantic analyses with a historical approach and anthropological insights, the author both develops a new method for analyzing religious categories within biblical traditions and sheds new light on the importance of the Septuagint for the history of ancient Judaism.

Le livre propose une analyse approfondie des démons dans la Bible Hébraïque et la Septante, à la lumière du Proche Orient Ancien et du contexte grec. Par un nouvel angle d’approche, Anna Angelini met en lumière dynamiques de continuité et de changement dans les représentations des puissances divines à l’époque hellénistique, en soulignant l’importance de la traduction grecque de la Bible pour la compréhension de la démonologie, de l’angélologie et de la pneumatologie antiques. En intégrant l’analyse philologique et sémantique avec une approche historique et des méthodes anthropologiques, l’autrice développe une nouvelle méthodologie pour analyser des catégories religieuses à l’intérieur des traditions bibliques et affirme la valeur de la Septante pour l’histoire du judaïsme antique.
In Urban Rituals in Sacred Landscapes in Hellenistic Asia Minor, Christina G. Williamson examines the phenomenon of monumental sanctuaries in the countryside of Asia Minor that accompanied the second rise of the Greek city-state in the Hellenistic period. Moving beyond monolithic categories, Williamson provides a transdisciplinary frame of analysis that takes into account the complex local histories, landscapes, material culture, and social and political dynamics of such shrines in their transition towards becoming prestigious civic sanctuaries.

This frame of analysis is applied to four case studies: the sanctuaries of Zeus Labraundos, Sinuri, Hekate at Lagina, and Zeus Panamaros. All in Karia, these well-documented shrines offer valuable insights for understanding religious strategies adopted by emerging cities as they sought to establish their position in the expanding world.
Social Networks and Religious Identity in Late Antique Egypt
The Manichaean Church in Kellis presents an in-depth study of social organisation within the religious movement known as Manichaeism in Roman Egypt. In particular, it employs papyri from Kellis (Ismant el-Kharab), a village in the Dakhleh Oasis, to explore the socio-religious world of lay Manichaeans in the fourth century CE.
Manichaeism has often been perceived as an elitist, esoteric religion. Challenging this view, Teigen draws on social network theory and cultural sociology, and engages with the study of lived ancient religion, in order to apprehend how laypeople in Kellis appropriated Manichaean identity and practice in their everyday lives. This perspective, he argues, not only provides a better understanding of Manichaeism: it also has wider implications for how we understand late antique ‘religion’ as a social phenomenon
The Succession Narrative as a Satire
Author:
In A King and a Fool? The Succession Narrative as a Satire Virginia Miller applies a new version of Douglas Muecke’s taxonomy of irony to the Succession Narrative. She argues that the narrative in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings has the essential feature of satire, namely, a pervasive sense of pejoratively critical irony. By her account, King David is the object of ironic attack, and therefore, an object of condemnation. Given that the primary purpose of satire is reform, Miller claims that the purpose of the Succession Narrative is a call for reform in the leadership of Israel.
An Understanding through Images
Dionysos, with his following of satyrs and women, was a major theme in a big part of the figure painted pottery in 500-300 B.C. Athens. As an original testimonial of their time, the imagery on these vases convey what this god meant to his worshippers. It becomes clear that - contrary to what is usually assumed - he was not only appropriate for wine, wine indulgence, ecstasy and theatre. Rather, he was present in both the public and private sphere on many, both happy and sad, occasions. In addition, the vase painters have emphasized different aspects of Dionysos for their customers inside and outside of Athens, depending on the political and cultural situation.
Wayward Readings in Greek Theology
Author:
Inspired by a critical reconsideration of current monolithic approaches to the study of Greek religion, this book argues that ancient Greeks displayed a disquieting capacity to validate two (or more) dissonant, if not contradictory, representations of the divine world in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive manner. From this perspective the six chapters explore problems inherent in: order vs. variety/chaos in polytheism, arbitrariness vs. justice in theodicy, the peaceful co-existence of mono- and polytheistic theologies, human traits in divine imagery, divine omnipotence vs. limitation of power, and ruler cult. Based on an intimate knowledge of ancient realia and literary testimonia the book stands out for its extensive application of relevant perceptions drawn from cultural anthropology, theology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics.
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Heidelberg, July 5-7, 2007)
This volume presents the proceedings of the eighth workshop of the international network 'Impact of Empire', which concentrates on the history of the Roman Empire and brings together ancient historians, archaeologists, classicists and specialists in Roman law from some thirty European and North American universities. The eighth volume focuses on the impact of the Roman Empire on religious behaviour, with a special focus on the dynamics of ritual. The volume is divided into three sections: ritualising the empire, performing civic community in the empire and performing religion in the empire.
Roman Gods
Open Access
A Conceptual Approach
Author:
The book is concerned with the question of how the concept of "god" in urban Rome can be analyzed along the lines of six constituent concepts, i.e. space, time, personnel, function, iconography and ritual. While older publications tended to focus on the conceptual nature of Roman gods only in those (comparatively rare) instances in which different concepts patently overlapped (as in the case of the deified emperor or hero-worship), this book develops general criteria for an analysis of pagan, Jewish and Christian concepts of gods in ancient Rome (and by extension elsewhere). While the argument of the book is exclusively based on the evidence from the capital up to the age of Constantine, in the concluding section the results are compared to other religious belief systems, thus demonstrating the general applicability of this conceptual approach.
An Understanding through Images
For the Greek, Dionysos was a very important god: for individuals as well as for the community as a whole. As there are only a few written sources dating from before the 5th Century BC the many images of Dionysos on Greek vases may well offer a genuine approach to the meaning given by the ancient viewer.
This book explores the earliest images followed by those on small vases for private use, on mixing bowls of the symposion, on amphoras, on later drinking cups and on archaic sculptures. It gives an overview of Dionysian iconography of the 5th Century BC as well as an overall interpretation.
The reader will learn why this god of vine and wine, of theatre and ecstasy, was so important for humans and why he played a key role in the life of the polis.
Dionysos war für die Griechen ein Gott von zentraler Bedeutung, sowohl im Leben des Einzelnen wie der Gemeinschaft. Weil vor dem 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. sehr wenige Schriftzeugnisse existieren, können uns die vielen Darstellungen des Dionysos auf griechischen Vasen am ehesten einen Zugang zu dem vermitteln, was der antike Mensch über ihn dachte.
Analysiert werden zuerst die frühesten Bilder, dann jene auf kleinen individuell gebrauchten Vasen, auf grossen, beim Symposion verwendeten Mischgefässen, auf Amphoren, auf den späteren Trinkschalen und schliesslich in der archaischen Skulptur. Das Buch schliesst mit einem Ausblick auf die Bildgeschichte des Dionysos im 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. und einer umfassenden Deutung.
Diese Interpretation hilft zu verstehen, warum Dionysos, der Gott der Rebe und des Weins, des Theaters, der Ekstase, für den antiken Menschen so wichtig war und auch im öffentlichen Leben der klassischen Polis eine so grosse Rolle gespielt hat.