Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād)
Author: Mahnaz Moazami
Laws of Ritual Purity: Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād) describes the various ways in which Zoroastrian authorities in the fifth-sixth centuries CE reinterpreted the purity laws of their community. Its redactor(s), conversant with the notions and practices of purity and impurity as developed by their predecessors, attempt(s) to determine the parameters of the various categories of pollution, the minimum measures of polluted substances, and the effect of the interaction of pollution with other substances that are important to humans. It is therefore in essence a technical legal corpus designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a central aspect of Zoroastrian ritual life: the extent of one’s liability contracting pollution and how atonement/purification can be achieved.
In Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Matthew V. Novenson brings together thirteen state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars on the various ways ancient Jewish, Christian, and classical writers conceive of God, Christ, Wisdom, the demiurge, angels, foreign gods, and other divine beings. In particular, the book revisits the “early high Christology” debates of the 1990s, identifying the lasting contributions thereof as well as the lingering difficulties and new, emerging questions from the last thirty years of research. The essays in this book probe the much-touted but under-theorized distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, Judaism and Hellenism, Christianity and paganism. They show how what we call monotheism and Christology fit within the Greco-Roman world of which they are part.
Mystery Cults in Visual Representation in Graeco-Roman Antiquity aims to fill a gap in the study of mystery cults in Graeco-Roman Antiquity by focusing on images for investigating their ritual praxis. N. Belayche and F. Massa have gathered experts on visual language in order to illuminate cultic rituals renowned for both their “mysteries” and their images. This book tackles three interrelated questions. Focusing on the cult of Dionysus, it analyses whether, and how, images are used to depict mystery cults. The relationship between historiography and images of mystery cults is considered with a focus on the Mithraic and Isiac cults. Finally, turning to the cults of Dionysus and the Mother of the Gods, this work shows how depictions of specific cultic objects succeed in expressing mystery cults.
Author: Zeke Mazur
In The Platonizing Sethian Background of Plotinus’s Mysticism, Zeke Mazur offers a radical reconceptualization of Plotinus with reference to Gnostic thought and praxis.
A crucial element the thought of the third-century CE philosopher Plotinus—his conception of mystical union with the One—cannot be understood solely within the conventional history of philosophy, or as the product of a unique, sui generis psychological propensity. This monograph demonstrates that Plotinus tacitly patterned his mystical ascent to the One on a type of visionary ascent ritual that is first attested in Gnostic sources. These sources include the Platonizing Sethian tractates Zostrianos (NHC VIII,1) and Allogenes (NHC XI,3) of which we have Coptic translations from Nag Hammadi and whose Greek Vorlagen were known to have been read in Plotinus’s school.
New Perspectives on Tradition and Transformation
Editors: Albert Geljon and Nienke Vos
Based on the paradigmatic shift in both liturgical and ritual studies, this multidisciplinary volume presents a collection of case studies on rituals in the early Christian world. After a methodological discussion of the new paradigm, it shows how emblematic Christian rituals were influenced by their Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts, undergoing multiple transformations, while themselves affecting developments both within and outside Christianity. Notably, parallel traditions in Judaism and Islam are included in the discussion, highlighting the importance of ongoing reception history. Focusing on the dynamic character of rituals, the new perspectives on ritual traditions pursued here relate to the expanding source material, both textual and material, as well as the development of recent interdisciplinary approaches, including the cognitive science of religion.
In Pilgrimage and Economy in the Ancient Mediterranean, Anna Collar and Troels Myrup Kristensen bring together diverse scholarship to explore the socioeconomic dynamics of ancient Mediterranean pilgrimage from archaic Greece to Late Antiquity, the Greek mainland to Egypt and the Near East. This broad chronological and geographical canvas demonstrates how our modern concepts of religion and economy were entangled in the ancient world. By taking material culture as a starting point, the volume examines the ways that landscapes, architecture, and objects shaped the pilgrim’s experiences, and the manifold ways in which economy, belief and ritual behaviour intertwined, specifically through the processes and practices that were part of ancient Mediterranean pilgrimage over the course of more than 1,500 years.
The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood throws fresh light on narratives about Christian holy men and women from Late Antiquity to Byzantium. Rather than focusing on the relationship between story and reality, it asks what literary choices authors made in depicting their heroes and heroines: how they positioned the narrator, how they responded to existing texts, how they utilised or transcended genre conventions for their own purposes, and how they sought to relate to their audiences. The literary focus of the chapters assembled here showcases the diversity of hagiographical texts written in Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac, as well as pointing out the ongoing conversations that connect them. By asking these questions of this diverse group of texts, it illuminates the literary development of hagiography in the late antique, Byzantine, and medieval periods.
In: The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood
In: The Hagiographical Experiment: Developing Discourses of Sainthood