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Volume Editors: Ilkka Lindstedt, Nina Nikki, and Riikka Tuori
Religious Identities in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages contains eight thought-provoking articles that discuss the formation of antique and early medieval religious identities and ideas in rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, Islam, and Greco-Roman culture. The articles question the artificial disciplinary and conceptual boundaries between traditions. Instead, they stress their shared nature. The collection is a result of discussions at the international symposium “Ideas and Identities in Late Antiquity: Jews, Christians, and Muslims” at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies on March 12–13, 2018.
Volume Editors: Marzena Zawanowska and Mateusz Wilk
King David if one of the most central figures in all of the major monotheistic traditions. He generally connotes the heroic past of the (more imagined than real) ancient Israelite empire and is associated with messianic hopes for the future. Nevertheless, his richly ambivalent and fascinating literary portrayal in the Hebrew Bible is one of the most complex of all biblical characters.
This volume aims at taking a new, critical look at the process of biblical creation and subsequent exegetical transformation of the character of David and his attributed literary composition (the Psalms), with particular emphasis put on the multilateral fertilization and cross-cultural interchanges among Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Politico-Cultural, Philosophical, and Religious Forms of Critical Conversation
In Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity scholars reflect on politico-cultural, philosophical, and religious forms of critical conversation in the ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, and early-Islamic world. They enquire into the boundaries between debate, polemics, and intolerance, and address their manifestations in both philosophy and religion. This cross-cultural and inclusive approach shows that debate and polemics are not so different as often assumed, since polemics may also indicate that ultimate values are at stake. Polemics can also have a positive effect, stimulating further cultural development. Intolerance is more straightforwardly negative. Religious intolerance is often a justification for politics, but also elite rationalism can become totalitarian. The volume also highlights the importance of the fluency of minorities in the dominant discourses and of their ability to develop contrapuntal lines of thought within a common cultural discourse.

Konflikte und Normierungsprozesse im 5. und 6. Jahrhundert
In Das Konzil von Chalcedon und die Kirche Sandra Leuenberger-Wenger offers a new perspective on the council of Chalcedon, analyzing the rich material of its acts. Leuenberger-Wenger shows the entanglement of the Christological debate with other fields of conflict concerning the status and authority of different episcopal sees and of monasticism in the church. The study emphasizes the importance of the traditionally neglected second part of the council with its canons and resolutions and argues that these regulations had a deep impact on the structures of the church as well as on the reception of the council and its definition of faith. The evaluation of a wide range of sources places the refusal of the definition of faith in the broader context of the transformation processes of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity and the rejection of an increasingly institutionalized Byzantine Church.

In Das Konzil von Chalcedon und die Kirche entwirft Sandra Leuenberger-Wenger anhand der Konzilsakten ein neues Bild von der Bedeutung dieses Konzils für die Kirche. Sie zeigt die Verknüpfung des christologischen Streits mit weiteren kirchlichen Konfliktfeldern wie dem Status und der Autorität einzelner Bischofssitze und des Mönchtums. Die Untersuchung betont die Bedeutung des zweiten Konzilsteils für die Entwicklung der Kirche und macht deutlich, wie die Regulierungen auf kirchenpolitischer und struktureller Ebene die Rezeption des Konzils entscheidend mitbestimmten. Die Auswertung eines breiten Quellenmaterials verortet das Konzil und seine schwierige Rezeption in den spätantiken Transformationsprozessen des Römischen Reichs im Übergang zum Mittelalter und deutet die Konflikte um die Glaubensdefinition im Horizont der umfassenderen Ablehnung einer zunehmend institutionalisierten byzantinischen Reichskirche.
This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.
In Mani at the Court of the Persian Kings the authors explore evidence arising from their project to edit the Chester Beatty Kephalaia codex. This new text presents Mani at the heart of Sasanian Iran in dialogue with its sages and nobles, acting as a cultural mediator between East and West and interpreter of Christian, Iranian, and Indian traditions. Nine chapters study Mani’s appropriation of the ‘law of Zarades’ and of Iranian epic; suggest a new understanding of his last days; and analyse his formative role in the history of late antique religions.

These interdisciplinary studies advance research in several fields and will be of interest to scholars of Manichaeism, Sasanian Iran, and the development of religions in Late Antiquity.