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Images of the Divine

The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Series:

Ambrosios Giakalis

This book examines the theology of icons in the eighth century, the most critical period in the evolution of the Eastern Church's teaching on images. The principal source is provided by the acta of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787.
The political circumstances which led to the outbreak of the controversy over icons are discussed in detail but the main emphasis is on the theological arguments and presuppositions of the participants in the council. Major themes include the nature of tradition, the relationship between image and reality and the place of christology.
Ultimately the argument over icons was about the accessibility of the divine. Icons were held by the iconophiles to communicate a deifying grace which raised the believer to participation in the life of God.

Series:

Amir Harrak

The Syriac Acts of Mār Mārī the Apostle discusses the introduction of Christianity into Upper Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia at the end of or slightly after the apostolic age by Mār Mārī. The Acts continues the Teaching of Addai (Thaddaeus in Eusebius of Caesarea), one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, who dispatched Marı from Edessa to the east. The Acts traces Mārī's itinerary and preaching in Mesopotamia until his reaching Babylonia, where he founded the first church near the Hellenistic city of Seleucia on the Tigris. By the early fifth century, the birthplace of Christianity in Babylonia became the patriarchal seat of the Church of the East, whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction and cultural influence extended during the early medieval period as far as China. This volume contains the Acts of Mār Mārī in Syriac and a relevant account from Kitāb al-Majdal in Arabic, both translated for the first time into English. This annotated translation of the Acts of Mār Mārī offers specialists and lay people alike a major source dealing with the early history of Christianity in the Middle East.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy

Paul G.P. Meyboom

The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.

Philostorgius

Church History

Series:

Philip Amidon

Philostorgius (born 368 C.E.) was a member of the Eunomian sect of Christianity, a nonconformist faction deeply opposed to the form of Christianity adopted by the Roman government as the official religion of its empire. He wrote his twelve-book Church History, the critical edition of the surviving remnants of which is presented here in English translation, at the beginning of the fifth century as a revisionist history of the church and the empire in the fourth and early-fifth centuries. Sometimes contradicting and often supplementing what is found in other histories of the period, Christian or otherwise, it offers a rare dissenting picture of the Christian world of the time.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Solomon the Esoteric King

From King to Magus, Development of a Tradition

Series:

Pablo Torijano Morales

The aim of the present work is to study the esoteric characterization of King Solomon that became popular in certain currents of Judaism and Christianity of Late Antiquity and to establish a typology of it.
Representative texts are analyzed, first to establish precisely the development of the different esoteric traditions linked to King Solomon, and then to show how these texts and traditions are placed in relation within the broad context of Magic and Religion in Late Antiquity.
The book provides data for a better understanding of magic and its role in the Mediterranean Oikumene, suggests the necessity for a better categorization of the magical discipline, and furthers the discussion on the transmission and importance of esoteric traditions withing Judaism and Christianity .

Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome

Studies in Ancient Cultural Interaction in Honour of A. Hilhorst

Series:

Edited by Florentino García Martínez and Gerard P. Luttikhuizen

The present volume has been compiled by colleagues and friends as a tribute to Dr. A. Hilhorst, the Secretary of the Journal for the Study of Judaism, on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Its 23 contributions by renowned international experts, reflect the various interests of the honouree, his approach to the Classical and Semitic languages and literatures as forming part of a continuum, and his attention to the interactions between the different literary corpora.
Several contributions deal with the interaction of the Old Testament with later Jewish, Gnostic, or Christian writings; others explore the influences of Greek writings within a Jewish context at the levels of philology, of theological ideas, of realia, or of influence of literary compositions. Furthermore, a number of contributions centers on the interaction of Greek motives in Jewish and Christian literature, whereas in several others the focus is on the Martyrium literature or on early Christian texts.

The "Belly-Myther" of Endor

Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church

Series:

Rowan Greer and Margaret Mitchell

The story of Saul and the woman at Endor in 1 Samuel 28 (LXX 1 Kingdoms 28) lay at the center of energetic disputes among early Christian authors about the nature and fate of the soul, the source of prophetic gifts, and biblical truth. In addition to providing the original texts and fresh translations of works by Origen, Eustathius of Antioch (not previously translated into English), and six other authors, Greer and Mitchell offer an insightful introduction to and detailed analysis of the rhetorical cast and theological stakes involved in early church debates on this notoriously difficult passage.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy

Series:

Paul G.P. Meyboom

The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.

Kykeon

Studies in Honour of H.S. Versnel

Series:

Edited by H.F.J. Horstmanshoff, H. W. Singor, F. T. Van Straten and J. H. M. Strubbe

A collection of papers with new insights on ancient religion, read at a colloquium in honour of Professor H.S. Versnel ("Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion"). The contributions, presented by nine leading scholars in the field, cover many areas of the religious experience of the Greeks and Romans: myth and ritual (W. Burkert), the gods (F. Zeitlin), cult, festivals, sacrifice. Several papers consider methodological problems and the progress of scholarship; they highlight the contribution of H.S. Versnel to the field. The papers are based on a wide range of sources: pagan and Christian, literary and epigraphical and iconographical.
The collection will fascinate all scholars interested in ancient religion, whether they study malign magic, the Imperial cult or general theory.

The Early Amazons

Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth

Series:

Josine Blok

The Early Amazons offers a new understanding of the ancient Amazon myth, situating mythical representations in the realm of cultural history.
The first section examines how the Amazons have presented a challenge to views on history, myth and gender in classical mythology from the late eighteenth century up to the impact of structuralism. Topics included are nineteenth-century historiography and the interest in linguistics.
The second section sheds new light on the culture of archaic Greece, offering a coherent assessment of literary and visual representations. Taking mythical narrative as a form of oral storytelling, it shows the emergence of the Amazon motif and its meaning in the world of epic. Iconographical analysis reveals how the visual arts have made a contribution of their own to the imaginary presence of the Amazons.