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Volume Editors: Sergey Minov and Flavia Ruani
Chapters gathered in Syriac Hagiography: Texts and Beyond explore a wide range of Syriac hagiographical works, while following two complementary methodological approaches, i.e. literary and cultic, or formal and functional. Grouped into three main sections, these contributions reflect three interrelated ways in which we can read Syriac hagiography and further grasp its characteristics: “Texts as Literature” seeks to unfold the mechanisms of their literary composition; “Saints Textualized” offers a different perspective on the role played by hagiographical texts in the invention and/or maintenance of the cult of a particular saint or group of saints; “Beyond the Texts” presents cases in which the historical reality behind the nexus of hagiographical texts and veneration of saints can be observed in greater details.
Volume Editors: Egil Asprem and Julian Strube
This volume offers new approaches to some of the biggest persistent challenges in the study of esotericism and beyond. Commonly understood as a particularly “Western” undertaking consisting of religious, philosophical, and ritual traditions that go back to Mediterranean antiquity, this book argues for a global approach that significantly expands the scope of esotericism and highlights its relevance for broader theoretical and methodological debates in the humanities and social sciences.

The contributors offer critical interventions on aspects related to colonialism, race, gender and sexuality, economy, and marginality. Equipped with a substantial introduction and conclusion, the book offers textbook-style discussions of the state of research and makes concrete proposals for how esotericism can be rethought through broader engagement with neighboring fields.
In The Cave 3 Copper Scroll: A Symbolic Journey, Jesper Høgenhavn presents a reading of the Copper Scroll as a literary text. For more than 60 years, scholars have debated whether or not the treasures recorded here reflect historical realities. This study argues that the dichotomy between “facts” and “fiction” is inadequate for a proper understanding of the Copper Scroll. The document was designed to convey specific images to its readers, thus staying true to the format of an instruction for retrieving hidden treasures. Yet, the evoked landscape is dense with symbolical associations, and the journey through it reflects deliberate narrative patterns. The scroll was written against the background of the social and political turmoil of Jewish Palestine in the 1st century CE, and reflects contemporary concerns and interests.
A Contextual Analysis of the Pre-baptismal Sermons attributed to Quodvultdeus of Carthage
Author: David Vopřada
In Quodvultdeus: a Bishop Forming Christians in Vandal Africa, David Vopřada presents the pre-baptismal catecheses of the fifth-century bishop of Carthage, delivered to the new believers in extremely difficult period of barbaric incursions. Quodvultdeus is generally not appraised as an original philosopher or theologian as his master Augustine was, in this book his qualities of a bishop who was entrusted with the care of his flock come forward. Making interdisciplinary use of the ancient and ecclesiastical history, philosophy, theology, archaeology, exegesis, liturgy science, homiletics, and rhetorics, the book offers a new and most innovative contribution to the life, work, and theology of Quodvultdeus.
In The Jerusalem Temple in Diaspora, Jonathan Trotter shows how different diaspora Jews’ perspectives on the distant city of Jerusalem and the temple took shape while living in the diaspora, an experience which often is characterized by complicated senses of alienation from and belonging to an ancestral homeland and one’s current home. This book investigates not only the perspectives of the individual diaspora Jews whose writings mention the Jerusalem temple (Letter of Aristeas, Philo of Alexandria, 2 Maccabees, and 3 Maccabees) but also the customs of diaspora Jewish communities linking them to the temple, such as their financial contributions and pilgrimages there.
Basil and Origen on Genesis 1 and Cosmology
Author: Adam Rasmussen
In Genesis and Cosmos Adam Rasmussen examines how Basil and Origen addressed scientific problems in their interpretations of Genesis 1. For the first time, he offers an in-depth analysis of Basil’s thinking on three problems in Scripture-and-science: the nature of matter, the super-heavenly water, and astrology. Both theologians worked from the same fundamental perspective that science is the “servant” of Christianity, useful yet subordinate. Rasmussen convincingly shows how Basil used Origen’s writings to construct his own solutions. Only on the question of the water does Basil break with Origen, who allegorized the water. Rasmussen demonstrates how they sought to integrate science and Scripture and thus remain instructive for those engaged in the dialogue between religion and science today.
Author: Nathan Witkamp
In Tradition and Innovation, Nathan Witkamp convincingly argues that Narsai of Nisibis’ (d. ca. 503) baptismal rite and mystagogy, as portrayed in his Liturgical Homilies 21-22, are much less dependent on Theodore of Mopsuestia (ca. 350-ca. 428) than scholars have previously supposed. Narsai’s baptismal rite turns out to represent a particular East Syrian liturgical tradition, independent of Theodore. In his mystagogy, Narsai uses Theodore’s Baptismal Homilies 1-3 as just one source among others to create the artwork he desires. This detailed comparative study contributes to our understanding of rite and mystagogy in Theodore and Narsai within the broader early Syrian context, as well as to the reception of Theodore by Narsai and the East Syrian Church.
Sermons, Preachers, and Audiences in the Latin West
Preaching in the Patristic Era. Sermons, Preachers, Audiences in the Latin West offers a state of the art of the study of the sermons of Latin Patristic authors. Parts I and II of the volume cover general topics, from the transmission of early Christian Latin sermons to iconography, from rhetoric to reflections on the impact of Latin preaching. Part III offers fourteen chapters devoted to Latin preachers such as Augustine, Gregory the Great, Maximus of Turin, and to collections of sermons, such as Arian sermons, preaching in 4th-century Spain, or sermons translated from Greek. By outlining the relevant sources, methodologies, and issues, this volume provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of Latin patristic preaching.
Contributors are Pauline Allen, Lisa Bailey, Andrea Bizzozzero, Shari Boodts, Andrew Cain, Nicolas De Maeyer, François Dolbeau, Jutta Dresken-Weiland, Geoffrey Dunn, Anthony Dupont, Camille Gerzaguet, Bruno Judic, Rémi Gounelle, Johan Leemans, Wendy Mayer, Robert McEachnie, Bronwen Neil, Gert Partoens, Adam Ployd, Eric Rebillard, Maureen Tilley, Sever Voicu, Clemens Weidmann and Liuwe Westra.
Author: Ze'ev Safrai
Seeking out the Land describes the study of the Holy Land in the Roman period and examines the complex connections between theology, social agenda and the intellectual pursuit. Holiness as a theological concept determines the intellectual agenda of the elite society of writers seeking to describe the land, as well as their preoccupation with its physical aspects and their actual knowledge about it.
Ze'ev Safrai succeeds in examining all the ancient monotheistic literature, both Jewish and Christian, up to the fourth century CE, and in demonstrating how all the above-mentioned factors coalesce into a single entity. We learn that in both religions, with all their various subgroups, the same social and religious factors were at work, but with differing intensity.

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