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Pre-Nicene Christology in Paschal Contexts

The Case of the Divine Noetic Anthropos

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Dragoş Giulea

In Pre-Nicene Christology in Paschal Contexts Dragoş A. Giulea re-examines the earliest texts related to the festival of Easter in light of Second Temple traditions. Commonly portrayed as sacrificial lamb, the key actor of the paschal narrative is here designated as heavenly Kabod, Divine Image, King of the Powers, celestial Anthropos, Demiurge, Son of Man, each of these divine names implying a corresponding soteriological function.
Dragoş A. Giulea indicates as well that the Greek philosophical vocabulary and certain idioms of the mystery religions inspired new categories which reshaped the traditional way of describing the nature of celestial entities and the epistemological capacities able to access these realities. Thus, the King of the Powers, or the Son of Man, is several times described as a noetic Anthropos, while initiation and noetic perception become the appropriate methods of accessing the divine.

Terres cuites et culte domestique

Bestiaire de l’Égypte gréco-romaine

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Céline Boutantin

In Terracotta and domestic worship. Bestiary of the Graeco-Roman Egypt, Celine Boutantin proposes a new approach of terracotta produced in Egypt in the Greco-Roman period. A study taking into account the archaeological contexts allows to propose a synthesis of production workshops and to show, in some cases, an adaptation of the production of local cults. An inventory of figurines found in homes, temples and tombs allow to study the functions of these objects. Through the study of a particular theme, animal terracottas, the author raises questions about beliefs and personal or private practices.

Dans Terres cuites et culte domestique. Bestiaire de l’Égypte gréco-romaine, Céline Boutantin propose une nouvelle approche des figurines en terre cuite produites en Égypte à l’époque gréco-romaine. Une étude prenant en compte les contextes archéologiques permet de dresser un bilan des ateliers de production et de montrer, dans certains cas, une adaptation de la production à des cultes locaux. Elle permet aussi de dresser un inventaire des figurines trouvées dans les maisons, les sanctuaires et les tombes et de proposer une synthèse sur les fonctions de ces objets. A travers l’étude d’un thème particulier, les représentations animales, l’auteur aborde sous un angle nouveau la question des croyances et des pratiques personnelles ou privées.

Religions and Trade

Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West

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Edited by Peter Wick and Volker Rabens

In Religions and Trade a number of international scholars investigate the ways in which eastern and western religions were formed and transformed from the perspective of “trade.” Trade changes religions. Religions expand through the help of trade infrastructures, and religions extend and enrich the trade relations with cultural and religious “commodities” which they contribute to the “market place” of human culture and religion. This leads to the inclusion, demarcation and densification as well as the amalgamation of religious traditions.

In an attempt to find new pathways into the world of religious dynamics, this collection of essays focuses on four elements or “commodities” of religious interchange: topologies of religious space, religious symbol systems, religious knowledge, and religious-ethical ways of life.

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Ulrich Huttner

In Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley, Ulrich Huttner explores the way Christians established communities and defined their position within their surroundings from the first to the fifth centuries. He shows that since the time of Paul the apostle, the cities Colossae, Hierapolis and Laodicea allowed Christians to expand and develop in their own way.
Huttner uses a wide variety of sources, not only Christian texts - from Pauline letters to Byzantine hagiographies - but also inscriptions and archeological remains, to reconstruct the religious conflicts as well as cooperation between Christians, Jews and Pagans. The book reveals the importance of local conditions in the development of Early Christianity.

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Edited by Aaron W. Hughes

Theory and Method are two words that cause considerable consternation in the academic study of religion. Although everyone claims to be aware of and to engage them, the fact of the matter is that they remain poorly understood. Some see the terms as irritants that get in the way of data interpretation and translation. Others may invoke them sporadically to appear in vogue but then return quickly and myopically to their material and with little concern for the larger issues that such terms raise. To contribute to these debates, the present volume reproduces select articles from Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (MTSR) from the first 25 volumes of the journal, and allows a group of younger scholars to introduce and review them, asking if the issues raised are still relevant to the field.

Read the Inaugural Editorial now, please click here.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.