Canonisation as Innovation

Anchoring Cultural Formation in the First Millennium BCE


Canonisation is fundamental to the sustainability of cultures. This volume is meant as a (theoretical) exploration of the process, taking Eurasian societies from roughly the first millennium BCE (Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Jewish and Roman) as case studies. It focuses on canonisation as a form of cultural formation, asking why and how canonisation works in this particular way and explaining the importance of the first millennium BCE for these question and vice versa. As a result of this focus, notions like anchoring, cultural memory, embedding and innovation play an important role throughout the book.
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Miguel John Versluys, Ph.D. (2001), Leiden University, is Professor of Classical & Mediterranean Archaeology at that university. He has published widely on the cultural dynamics of Afro-Eurasia in Antiquity, including Visual Style and Constructing Identity in the Hellenistic World. Nemrud Dağ and Commagene under Antiochos I (CUP 2017)

Damien Agut-Labordère, Ph.D. (2005), Centre national de la recherche scientifique, is Chargé de recherche in ArScAn research team based in Nanterre. He has published monographs and articles on Ancient Egyptian Literature and, in parallel, on Egypt during the Persian Achaemenid period. As specialist of the Demotic script, he is also involved in several archaeological missions in Egypt, in the Western Desert.

Contributors are: Damien Agut-Labordère, Laurent Bricault, Hervé Gonzalez, Casper C. de Jonge, André Lardinois, William Marx, John K. Papadopoulos, Alessandra Rolle, Miguel John Versluys, Greg Woolf, Marie Young.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Part 1: Introduction

1 Canon Creation/Destruction and Cultural Formation: Authority, Reception, Canonicity, Marginality
John K. Papadopoulos

2 Mémoire volontaire? Canonisation as Cultural Innovation in Antiquity
Miguel John Versluys

Part 2: Case Studies

3 “The Tablets I Spoke about Are Good to Preserve until Far-off Days”: An Overview on the Creation and Evolution of Canons in Babylonia and Assyria from the Middle Babylonian Period until the End of Cuneiform Sources
Marie Young

4 Inserting or Ruminating: How Demotic Became Canonic
Damien Agut-Labordère

5 Creation or Confirmation of the Canon? The Measures of Lycurgus and the Selection of Athenian Tragedy in Antiquity
André Lardinois

6 How Canonization Transformed Greek Tragedy
William Marx

7 Fixer une mémoire observations méthodologiques, philologiques et historiques sur la clotûre du canon de la bible Hébraïque In memoriam Philip R. Davies (1945-2018)
Hervé Gonzalez

8 Challenging the Canon of the Ten Attic Orators. From kanôn to Canon
Casper C. de Jonge

9 L’Arétalogie d’Isis : biographie d’un texte canonique
Laurent Bricault

10 Coming Home: Varro’s Antiquitates rerum divinarum and the Canonisation of Roman Religion
Alessandra Rolle

Part 3: Conclusion

11 What Becomes of the Uncanonical?
Greg Woolf

This book will appeal to specialists in Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Jewish and Roman cultures but even more to those interested in the interactions between these societies as they can be investigated through processes of canonisation, anchoring, cultural memory, embedding and innovation.
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