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In Theoretical and Empirical Investigations of Divination and Magic ten leading scholars of religion provide up-to-date investigations into the classic domains of divination and magic. Spanning historical, anthropological, cognitive, philosophical and theoretical chapters, the volume’s authors invite the reader to explore how divinatory practices and magical rituals, both apart and in interaction, can be reconceptualized in line with 21st century scholarship.

Following an introduction addressing the ever-pertinent discussion of the status and epistemological value of the categories inherited from our scholarly predecessors, the volume includes analyses of divinatory and magic practices in particular historical areas, as well as comparative, theoretical and philosophical discussions, making this an indispensable volume for anyone interested in broader comparative approaches to magic and divination.

Contributors are Lars Albinus, Edward Bever, Gideon Bohak, Corby Kelly, Lars Madsen, Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Jörg Rüpke, Jesper Frøkjær Sørensen, Jørgen Podemann Sørensen, Dimitris Xygalatas.
Author: Vaia Touna
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.



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“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
Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West
Volume Editors: 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.
Volume Editor: 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.