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Edited by David Frankfurter

In the midst of academic debates about the utility of the term “magic” and the cultural meaning of ancient words like mageia or khesheph, this Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic seeks to advance the discussion by separating out three topics essential to the very idea of magic. The three major sections of this volume address (1) indigenous terminologies for ambiguous or illicit ritual in antiquity; (2) the ancient texts, manuals, and artifacts commonly designated “magical” or used to represent ancient magic; and (3) a series of contexts, from the written word to materiality itself, to which the term “magic” might usefully pertain.

The individual essays in this volume cover most of Mediterranean and Near Eastern antiquity, with essays by both established and emergent scholars of ancient religions.

In a burgeoning field of “magic studies” trying both to preserve and to justify critically the category itself, this volume brings new clarity and provocative insights. This will be an indispensable resource to all interested in magic in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, ancient Greece and Rome, Early Christianity and Judaism, Egypt through the Christian period, and also comparative and critical theory.
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Bart Koet

In recent and contemporary scholarship, the deacon as a leader in the Early Church is an often-neglected subject. This book focuses on the roles and functions of the deacon in Augustine’s literary output. The author’s approach is detailed and appropriately cautious and is always attentive to the text. He analyses Augustine’s way of commenting on deacons and how the bishop of Hippo wrote about them, as well as his manner of preaching on saints and martyrs who were deacons. The book thus provides a new perspective on the early deacons who were not social workers, but go-betweens or intermediaries between the bishop and his flock, between the Scriptures and daily life, and between Church and society. He emphasises in particular how deacons were epistle bearers responsible for the world wide web of Early Christianity.
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Edited by Renaud Gagné, Simon Goldhill and Geoffrey Lloyd

Historically, all societies have used comparison to analyze cultural difference through the interaction of religion, power, and translation. When comparison is a self-reflective practice, it can be seen as a form of comparatism. Many scholars are concerned in one way or another with the practice and methods of comparison, and the need for a cognitively robust relativism is an integral part of a mature historical self-placement. This volume looks at how different theories and practices of writing and interpretation have developed at different times in different cultures and reconsiders the specificities of modern comparative approaches within a variety of comparative moments. The idea is to reconsider the specificities, the obstacles, and the possibilities of modern comparative approaches in history and anthropology through a variety of earlier and parallel comparative horizons. Particular attention is given to the exceptional role of Athens and Jerusalem in shaping the Western understanding of cultural difference.
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Edited by AnneMarie Luijendijk and William E. Klingshirn

Sortilege—the making of decisions by casting lots—was widely practiced in the Mediterranean world during the period known as late antiquity, between the third and eighth centuries CE. In My Lots are in Thy Hands: Sortilege and its Practitioners in Late Antiquity, AnneMarie Luijendijk and William Klingshirn have collected fourteen essays that examine late antique lot divination, especially but not exclusively through texts preserved in Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac. Employing the overlapping perspectives of religious studies, classics, anthropology, economics, and history, contributors study a variety of topics, including the hermeneutics and operations of divinatory texts, the importance of diviners and their instruments, and the place of faith and doubt in the search for hidden order in a seemingly random world.
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Edited by Ignacio Gallup-Diaz and Geoffrey Plank

Quakers and Native Americans examines the history of interactions between Quakers and Native Americans (American Indians). Fourteen scholarly essays cover the period from the 1650s to the twentieth century. American Indians often guided the Quakers by word and example, demanding that they give content to their celebrated commitment to peace. As a consequence, the Quakers’ relations with American Indians has helped define their sense of mission and propelled their rise to influence in the U.S. Quakers have influenced Native American history as colonists, government advisors, and educators, eventually promoting boarding schools, assimilation and the suppression of indigenous cultures. The final two essays in this collection provide Quaker and American Indian perspectives on this history, bringing the story up to the present day.

Contributors include: Ray Batchelor, Lori Daggar, John Echohawk, Stephanie Gamble, Lawrence M. Hauptman, Allison Hrabar, Thomas J. Lappas, Carol Nackenoff, Paula Palmer, Ellen M. Ross, Jean R. Soderlund, Mary Beth Start, Tara Strauch, Marie Balsley Taylor, Elizabeth Thompson, and Scott M. Wert.
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The Derveni Papyrus

Unearthing Ancient Mysteries

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Edited by Marco Antonio Santamaría Álvarez

The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries is devoted to this fascinating and challenging document, discovered in 1962 in a tomb in Derveni, near Thessaloniki, and dated c. 340-320 BCE. It contains a text probably written at the end of 5th c. BCE, which after some reflections on minor divinities and unusual cults, comments upon a poem attributed to Orpheus from an allegorical and philosophical perspective. This volume focuses on the restoration and conservation of the papyrus, the ideas of the anonymous author about Erinyes and daimons, the quoted Orphic poem in comparison with Hesiod’s Theogony and Parmenides’ poem, the exegetical approach of the commentator, his cosmogonic system, his attitude regarding mystery cults and his peculiar theology.
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Parrhesia

Ancient and Modern Perspectives on Freedom of Speech

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Edited by Peter-Ben Smit and Eva van Urk

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in many societies, yet also highly contested. As a right, it can only be appreciated if its historical development is taken into account. Parrhesia offers case studies in freedom of speech, its understanding and exercise throughout history. They enable researchers and policymakers alike to gain an awareness of the complexities, challenges and benefits of freedom of speech. The cases that have been selected are from the field of religion and theology, yet exemplary in character and able to shed light on freedom of speech in other parts of society.

Contributors are: Leon van den Broeke, Jan Krans, Silvia Castelli, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Manfred Lang, Bastian Lemitz, Nils Neumann, Kyriakoula Papademetriou, Dirk Jan Schoon, and Peter-Ben Smit.
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The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity

Development, Decline and Demise ca. A.D. 270-430

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David Walsh

In The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity David Walsh explores how the cult of Mithras developed across the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. and why by the early 5th century the cult had completely disappeared. Contrary to the traditional narrative that the cult was violently persecuted out of existence by Christians, Walsh demonstrates that the cult’s decline was a far more gradual process that resulted from a variety of factors. He also challenges the popular image of the cult as a monolithic entity, highlighting how by the 4th century Mithras had come to mean different things to different people in different places.
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Religions and Education in Antiquity

Studies in Honour of Michel Desjardins

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Edited by Alex Damm

Religions and Education in Antiquity gathers ten essays on teaching and learning in the contexts of ancient Western religions, including Judaism, early Christianity and Gnostic Christian traditions. Beginning with an overview of religious education in the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds, editor Alex Damm and the contributors together demonstrate the mutual influence of religion and education on each other; the relevance of educational traditions in addressing (for instance) historical or exegetical issues; and the thoroughgoing importance of education to religious life across time and space in antiquity. Highly useful to scholars of religion, theology, classics and education, this volume affords a state of the art study on pedagogy and learning in ancient religious contexts.
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Edited by Valentino Gasparini and Richard Veymiers

In Individuals and Materials in the Greco-Roman Cults of Isis Valentino Gasparini and Richard Veymiers present a collection of reflections on the individuals and groups which animated one of Antiquity’s most dynamic, significant and popular religious phenomena: the reception of the cults of Isis and other Egyptian gods throughout the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. These communities, whose members seem to share the same religious identity, for a long time have been studied in a monolithic way through the prism of the Cumontian category of the “Oriental religions”. The 26 contributions of this book, divided into three sections devoted to the “agents”, their “images” and their “practices”, shed new light on this religious movement that appears much more heterogeneous and colorful than previously recognized.