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Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
From Prestige Object to an Article of Mass Consumption
This book opens up a new window into the Hellenistic world through a close study of mouldmade bowls, their places of production (both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean), iconographies and distribution. The author’s unique access to material in the Black Sea Region provides the backbone to a rare comparative approach to study an important type of vessel that traditionally has been studied in local isolation.
In diesem Band sind die lateinischen Autoren des ausgehenden 4. und frühen 5. Jahrhunderts zusammengestellt, die über die Profangeschichte vom 3. bis zum 5. Jh. berichten. Dabei stehen sie zu den von ihnen beschriebenen Ereignissen schon in einer größeren und oft kritischen Distanz und würdigen, im Unterschied zu den im Modul B behandelten Sammelbiographien, stärker die historischen Zusammenhänge. Den Hauptplatz im Band nimmt die Epitome de Caesaribus (D 3) ein, die neben Übernahmen aus Aurelius Victor, aus Eutrop oder aus der Enmannschen Kaisergeschichte zahlreiche Passagen einer Quelle enthält, die auch von Ammianus Marcellinus benutzt worden ist und die Übereinstimmungen mit der spätgriechischen Tradition (Eunap bzw. Zosimos und Zonaras) zeigt. Geboten werden ein neuer Text, eine Übersetzung sowie ein reichhaltiger philologisch-historischer Kommentar. Daneben werden die Überreste der Historiker Nicomachus Flavianus, Sulpicius Severus und Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus vorgestellt.
This book focuses on Irenaeus as key to the early Christian appropriation of divine simplicity as a philosophical principle, since he is the first Christian source to explain his usage in relation to God. Beyond providing limits for what a simple God can and cannot mean, he also applies this principle to God’s activity (i.e. creating), and to God’s names and powers. There is a growing interest in the early Christian appropriation of divine simplicity: Simons' study is timely as the first book to focus exclusively on the earliest explanation and application.
An Inquiry into the Textual Transmission of Porphyry’s Philosophy according to the Chaldean Oracles
This book gives us a new perspective on the Philosophy according to the Chaldean Oracles by Porphyry of Tyre (ca. 232/305 CE), demonstrating that much of what we thought we knew about this work and its fragments is mistaken. Here, for the first time, the attempt is made at reconstructing the original text by following the vicissitudes of its reception and transmission from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance up to modern scholarship.
The extensive and painstaking study of the surviving fragments leads to the radically innovative conclusion that this encyclopedic treatise, written by Porphyry in the last decades of the 3rd century CE, consisted of fifteen books organized in various sections. After an initial discussion of the nature of theurgy and of its subordinate role with respect to philosophy, Porphyry describes the entire history of Greek philosophy from Homer up to his own teacher Plotinus, to then go on to present “introductions” to the seven encyclical disciplines whose study is required for the comprehension of theosophy, that is, the esoteric speculation on the three parts of philosophy: anthropology-ethics, physics, and metaphysics-theology.
By harmonizing the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and the Chaldean Oracles, Porphyry intends to present the complete and definitive philosophic system, with the aim of showing the universal way for the liberation of the souls of initiates and of contextually fighting the final battle of the Greco-Roman civilization against Christianity.