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Quodvultdeus: a Bishop Forming Christians in Vandal Africa

A Contextual Analysis of the Pre-baptismal Sermons attributed to Quodvultdeus of Carthage

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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.

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Edited by John Finamore, Christina-Panagiota Manolea and Sarah Klitenic Wear

Studies in Hermias’ Commentary on Plato’s Phaedrus is a collection of twelve essays that consider aspects of Hermias’ philosophy, including his notions of the soul, logic, and method of exegesis. The essays also consider Hermias’ work in the tradition of Neoplatonism, particularly in relation to the thought of Iamblichus and Proclus. The collection grapples with the question of the originality of Hermias’ commentary—the only extant work of Hermias—which is a series of lectures notes of his teacher, Syrianus.

Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017

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Edited by Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund

The Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran have attracted increasing interest in recent years. These texts predate the “sectarian” Dead Sea scrolls, and they are contemporary with the youngest parts of the Hebrew Bible. They offer a unique glimpse into the situation before the biblical canons were closed. Their highly creative Jewish authors reshaped and rewrote biblical traditions to cope with the concerns of their own time. The essays in this volume examine this fascinating ancient literature from a variety of different perspectives. The book grew out of an international symposium held at the University of Copenhagen in August 2017.

Esther Eidinow

Abstract

This article discusses the challenges facing scholars exploring the nature of belief in ancient Greek religion. While recent scholarship has raised questions about individual religious activities, and work on ritual, the body, and the senses has broadened our methodological palette, the nature and dynamics of generally held “low intensity” beliefs still tend to be described simply as “unquestioned” or “embedded” in society. But examining scholarship on divine personifications suggests that ancient beliefs were — and our perceptions of them are — more complex. This article first explores the example of Tyche (“Chance”), in order to highlight some of the problems that surround the use of the term “belief.” It then turns to the theories of “ideology” of Slavoj Žižek and Robert Pfaller and argues that these can offer provocative insights into the nature and dynamics of ritual and belief in ancient Greek culture.

Arresting Alternatives

Religious Prejudice and Bacchantic Worship in Greek Literature

Marika Rauhala

Abstract

Ancient Greek descriptions of ecstatic and mystic rituals, here broadly labeled as Bacchantic worship, regularly include elements of moral corruption and dissolution of social unity. Suspicions were mostly directed against unofficial cult groups that exploited Dionysiac experiences in secluded settings. As the introduction of copious new cults attests, Greek religion was receptive to external influences. This basic openness, however, was not synonymous with tolerance, and pious respect for all deities did not automatically include their worshippers. This article reconsiders the current view of ancient religious intolerance by regarding these negative stereotypes as expressions of prejudice and by investigating the social dynamics behind them. Prejudices against private Bacchantic groups are regarded as part of the process of buttressing the religious authority of certain elite quarters in situations where they perceive that their position is being threatened by rival claims. It is suggested that both the accentuation and alleviation of prejudice is best understood in relation to the relative stability of the elite and the religious control it exerted.