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Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity
Author: Peter-Ben Smit
In Felix culpa: Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity, Peter-Ben Smit argues that ritual developments were key to the development of early Christianity. Focusing on rituals that go wrong, he shows precisely how ritual infelicities are a catalyst for reflection upon ritual and their development in terms of their performance as well as the meaning attributed to them. Smit discusses texts from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Mark, and provides a chapter on Philo of Alexandria by way of contextualization in the Greco-Roman world. By stressing the importance of ritual, the present book invites a reconsideration of all too doctrinally focused approaches to early Christian communities and identities. It also highlights the embodied and performative character of what being in Christ amounted to two millennia ago.
Volume Editors: Danijel Dzino and Ryan Strickler
This volume brings together papers focused on the issues of dissidence and persecutions in early and middle Byzantine period – from Constantine to late eleventh century. They explore a variety of problems on the imperial centre and periphery such as: the Byzantine and Jewish relations, the iconoclastic dispute, papal-imperial relations and frictions, loyalty and dissidence on the imperial periphery, etc. The aim of the volume is to explore different perspectives of dissent and persecution, the reasons driving dissent and causing persecutions, as well as their perceptions and depictions in the Byzantine literature.
This volume provides a review of recent research in Philippi related to archaeology, demography, religion, the New Testament and early Christianity. Careful reading of texts, inscriptions, coins and other archaeological materials allow the reader to examine how religious practice in Philippi changed as the city moved from being a Hellenistic polis to a Roman colony to a center for Christian worship and pilgrimage. The essays raise questions about traditional understandings of material culture in Philippi, and come to conclusions that reflect more complicated and diverse views of the city and its inhabitants.
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.
Une analyse comparée de la notion de “démon” dans la Septante et dans la Bible Hébraïque
Author: Anna Angelini
This book offers a thorough analysis of demons in the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint in the wider context of the ancient Near East and the Greek world. Taking a fresh and innovative angle of enquiry, Anna Angelini investigates continuities and changes in the representation of divine powers in Hellenistic Judaism, thereby revealing the role of the Greek translation of the Bible in shaping ancient demonology, angelology, and pneumatology. Combining philological and semantic analyses with a historical approach and anthropological insights, the author both develops a new method for analyzing religious categories within biblical traditions and sheds new light on the importance of the Septuagint for the history of ancient Judaism.

Le livre propose une analyse approfondie des démons dans la Bible Hébraïque et la Septante, à la lumière du Proche Orient Ancien et du contexte grec. Par un nouvel angle d’approche, Anna Angelini met en lumière dynamiques de continuité et de changement dans les représentations des puissances divines à l’époque hellénistique, en soulignant l’importance de la traduction grecque de la Bible pour la compréhension de la démonologie, de l’angélologie et de la pneumatologie antiques. En intégrant l’analyse philologique et sémantique avec une approche historique et des méthodes anthropologiques, l’autrice développe une nouvelle méthodologie pour analyser des catégories religieuses à l’intérieur des traditions bibliques et affirme la valeur de la Septante pour l’histoire du judaïsme antique.
In Urban Rituals in Sacred Landscapes in Hellenistic Asia Minor, Christina G. Williamson examines the phenomenon of monumental sanctuaries in the countryside of Asia Minor that accompanied the second rise of the Greek city-state in the Hellenistic period. Moving beyond monolithic categories, Williamson provides a transdisciplinary frame of analysis that takes into account the complex local histories, landscapes, material culture, and social and political dynamics of such shrines in their transition towards becoming prestigious civic sanctuaries.

This frame of analysis is applied to four case studies: the sanctuaries of Zeus Labraundos, Sinuri, Hekate at Lagina, and Zeus Panamaros. All in Karia, these well-documented shrines offer valuable insights for understanding religious strategies adopted by emerging cities as they sought to establish their position in the expanding world.
Les 203 dédicaces votives en araméen de Palmyre de la période entre IIe et IIIe siècle de n.è. intriguent par 3 dénominations divines : « Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité », « Maître de l’Univers » et « le Miséricordieux ». Des études précédentes ont postulé univoquement l’anonymat divin. En étant déçu par cette explication du phénomène des inscriptions palmyréniennes, le livre Des dédicaces sans théonyme de Palmyre : Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité a pris pour le point de départ les concepts de remerciement et de louange, en découvrant l’existence d’un hymne rituel comme origine de la formule « Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité ». Qui sont donc des dieux, des récepteurs des dédicaces de Palmyre ? Peut-on combiner un nom propre d’un dieu avec ces trois formules ? Ce livre répond à ces questions flagrantes.

203 Palmyrene-Aramaic votive inscriptions from the period between the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE contain three intriguing designations of the gods: “Blessed (be) his name forever”, “Master of the Universe” and “the Merciful”. Previous studies have claimed that the god to whom these inscriptions are addressed is anonymous. Not satisfied with this explanation, Des dédicaces sans théonyme de Palmyre: Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité addresses the phenomenon through the lens of thanksgiving and praise, revealing the existence of a contemporary ritual hymn, the origin of the Palmyrene formula “Blessed his name forever”. Who, then, were these gods, the recipients of the dedications? Can we find a match between the formulae and a proper name? This book provides answers to these fascinating questions.
Author: Bruce Lincoln
In Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran, Bruce Lincoln offers a vast overview on different aspects of the Indo-Iranian, Zoroastrian and Pre-Islamic mythologies, religions and cultural issues. The book is organized in four sections according to the body of evidence they engage most directly: Avestan, Old Persian, Pahlavi, and Iranian materials in comparison with other data, including studies of myths, especially those with cosmogonic implications, ritual practices, cosmological constructions of space and time, points of intersection between religion, ethics, law, and politics, ideological aspects of scientific and medical theorizing, social organization and gender relations, and other diverse topics.
Social Networks and Religious Identity in Late Antique Egypt
The Manichaean Church in Kellis presents an in-depth study of social organisation within the religious movement known as Manichaeism in Roman Egypt. In particular, it employs papyri from Kellis (Ismant el-Kharab), a village in the Dakhleh Oasis, to explore the socio-religious world of lay Manichaeans in the fourth century CE.
Manichaeism has often been perceived as an elitist, esoteric religion. Challenging this view, Teigen draws on social network theory and cultural sociology, and engages with the study of lived ancient religion, in order to apprehend how laypeople in Kellis appropriated Manichaean identity and practice in their everyday lives. This perspective, he argues, not only provides a better understanding of Manichaeism: it also has wider implications for how we understand late antique ‘religion’ as a social phenomenon