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.
Isis Pelagia: Images, Names and Cults of a Goddess of the Seas, Laurent Bricault, one of the principal scholars of the cults of Isis, presents a new interpretation of the multiple sources that present Isis as a goddess of the seas. Bricault discusses a wealth of relatively unknown archaeological and textual data, drawing on a profound knowledge of their historical context.
After decades of scholarly study, Bricault offers an important contribution and a new phase in the debate on understanding the “diffusion” as well as the “reception” of the cults of Isis in the Graeco-Roman world. This book, the first English-language monograph by the leading French scholar in the field, underlines the importance of Isis Studies for broader debates in the study of ancient religion.
of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy, Jonathan E. Soyars traces the influence of Pauline literary traditions upon one of the most widely attested and influential apocalyptic texts from early Christianity. Scholarship largely considers Hermas to have known very little about Pauline letters, but by looking beyond verbatim quotations Soyars discovers extensive evidence of his adoption, adaptation, and synthesis of identifiable Pauline material in the
Visions, Mandates, and
Similitudes sections. Hermas emerges as a Pauline interpreter who creatively engages topics and themes developed within and across the Pauline letters through time. These results reconnect the
Shepherd with early Paulinism and extend reconstructions of the sphere of Pauline influence in the second century C.E.
The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus, Christian H. Bull argues that the treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus reflect the spiritual exercises and ritual practices of loosely organized brotherhoods in Egypt. These small groups were directed by Egyptian priests educated in the traditional lore of the temples, but also conversant with Greek philosophy. Such priests, who were increasingly dispossessed with the gradual demise of the Egyptian temples, could find eager adherents among a Greek-speaking audience seeking for the wisdom of the Egyptian Hermes, who was widely considered to be an important source for the philosophies of Pythagoras and Plato. The volume contains a comprehensive analysis of the myths of Hermes Trismegistus, a reevaluation of the Way of Hermes, and a contextualization of this ritual tradition.
Where Dreams May Come was the winner of the 2018 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, awarded by the Society for Classical Studies.
In this book, Gil H. Renberg examines the ancient religious phenomenon of “incubation", the ritual of sleeping at a divinity’s sanctuary in order to obtain a prophetic or therapeutic dream. Most prominently associated with the Panhellenic healing god Asklepios, incubation was also practiced at the cult sites of numerous other divinities throughout the Greek world, but it is first known from ancient Near Eastern sources and was established in Pharaonic Egypt by the time of the Macedonian conquest; later, Christian worship came to include similar practices. Renberg’s exhaustive study represents the first attempt to collect and analyze the evidence for incubation from Sumerian to Byzantine and Merovingian times, thus making an important contribution to religious history.
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.
The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence, Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum investigates for the first time the concept of the daimon (daemon, demon), normally confined to religion and philosophy, within the theory and practice of ancient western astrology (2nd century BCE – 7th century CE). This multi-disciplinary study covers the daimon within astrology proper as well as the daimon and astrology in wider cultural practices including divination, Gnosticism, Mithraism and Neo-Platonism. It explores relationships between the daimon and fate and Daimon and Tyche (fortune or chance), and the doctrine of lots as exemplified in Plato’s Myth of Er. In finding the impact of Egyptian and Mesopotamian ideas of fate on Hellenistic astrology, it critically examines astrology’s perception as propounding an unalterable destiny.
After more than three decades since the publication of Gwyn Griffiths’ 1975 commentary, which concentrated mainly on Egyptological aspects and represents an outdated, positivistic approach to the literary evidence on Isis, this new commentary presents a new and thorough assessment of Apuleius’ Isis Book, elucidating and interpreting the narrative in its literary, religious, archaeological and cultural context. Reflecting the recent innovative approach to the interaction of literature and religion (Literarisierung von Religion) and the important developments in the research on the Second Sophistic (e.g. ‘Self-fashioning’; Cultural Identity), the volume offers a new, detailed interpretation of the Isis Book in the easy-to-use form of a fully-fledged commentary, including Latin Text and monographic Introduction.
Worlds Full of Signs compares Greek divination to divinatory practices in Neo-Assyrian Mesopotamia and Republican Rome. It argues that the character of Greek divination differed fundamentally from that of the two comparanda. Ample attention is given to background and method at first. Subsequent chapters discuss the divinatory elements – sign,
homo divinans, and text, relating divination to time and uncertainty. This book brings together sources originating from various times and places, questioning these to consider both generalities of ancient divination and specifics of Greek divination. Greek divination was inherently flexible on many levels: these findings should be connected to Greek views on time and the future as well as the relatively low level of divinatory institutionalization.
Flourishing in the centuries around the birth of Christ, the Nabataean kingdom covered a large swathe of the north-western Arabian Peninsula and was shaped by cultural influences from the Mediterranean, Arabian and wider Semitic worlds.
The Religious Life of Nabataea examines the inscriptions, sculptures and architectural remains left by worshippers in every corner of the kingdom, from the spectacular remains of the desert city of Petra to the fertile plains of southern Syria.
While previous scholarly approaches have minimised the diversity of cultic practices and traditions found in Nabataea, this study reveals a vibrant religious landscape dominated by a variety of local traditions.