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De Memphis à Rome

Actes du Ier Colloque international sur les études isiaques, Poitiers - Futuroscope, 8-10 avril 1999

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Edited by Laurent Bricault

The studies of the Isiac Cults are forty years old. Many of the scholars who have contributed to the development of this particular field of research, - the diffusion of the Egyptian cults in the Graeco-Roman world -, met in the Futuroscope of Poitiers for a three-day colloquium, to establish the progress of research, and the subjects which need more discussion. The synthesis of this colloquium is presented in this volume. The best specialists in the world give their assessment of the past forty years of research: which tools do students and scholars have? Which -provisional- conclusions can be drawn about, for example, the hellenization of Isis, the reality of the Roman soldier's devotion to Isis or Sarapis, the celebration of the Isiaca in Rome from Republican days well into the Empire? This volume is a very useful update on what we do and do not know in the study of the Isiac cults in the Graeco-Roman world.

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Henk Versnel

This is the second of a two-volume collection of studies on inconsistencies in Greek and Roman religion. Their common aim is to argue for the historical relevance of various types of ambiguity and dissonance. While the first volume focused on the central paradoxes in ancient henotheism, the present one discusses the ambiguities in myth and ritual of transition and reversal.
After an introduction to the history of the myth and ritual debate (with a focus on New Year festivals and initiation) in the first chapter, the second and third chapters discuss myth and ritual of reversal—Kronos and the Kronia, and Saturnus and the Saturnalia respectively; the fourth treats two women's festivals—that of Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria; the fifth investigates the initiatory aspects of Apollo and Mars. In the background is the basic conviction that the three approaches to religion known as 'substantivistic', functionalist and cultural-symbolic respectively, need not be mutually exclusive.

Romanising Oriental Gods

Myth, Salvation and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele, Isis and Mithras

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Jaime Alvar

The traditional grand narrative correlating the decline of Graeco-Roman religion with the rise of Christianity has been under pressure for three decades. This book argues that the alternative accounts now emerging significantly underestimate the role of three major cults, of Cybele and Attis, Isis and Serapis, and Mithras. Although their differences are plain, these cults present sufficient common features to justify their being taken typologically as a group. All were selective adaptations of much older cults of the Fertile Crescent. It was their relative sophistication, their combination of the imaginative power of unfamiliar myth with distinctive ritual performance and ethical seriousness, that enabled them both to focus and to articulate a sense of the autonomy of religion from the socio-political order, a sense they shared with Early Christianity. The notion of 'mystery' was central to their ability to navigate the Weberian shift from ritualist to ethical salvation.

Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion

Studies in Honor of Jean MacIntosh Turfa

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Edited by Margarita Gleba and Hilary Becker

Etruscans were deemed “the most religious of men” by their Roman successors and it is hardly surprising that the topic of Etruscan religion has been explored for some time now. This volume offers a contribution to the continued study of Etruscan religion and daily life, by focusing on the less explored issue of ritual. Ritual is approached through fourteen case studies, considering mortuary customs, votive rituals and other religious and daily life practices. The book gathers new material, interpretations and approaches to the less emphasized areas of Etruscan religion, especially its votive aspects, based on archaeological and epigraphic sources.

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Edited by Ilinca Tanaseanu-Döbler and Marvin Döbler

Although religious education is a much-debated topic in present-day History of Religions, its study focuses almost exclusively on contemporary phenomena. Furthermore, this field of study still lacks a comprehensive theoretical framework to structure research. The volume presented here explores religious education from a historical perspective, focusing on source material from pre-modern Europe. Scholars from the History of Religions, Theology, Classical Philology, Medieval Studies and Byzantine Studies contribute their expertise to analyse selected aspects of religious education in Antiquity, Byzantium and the Middle Ages, highlighting the diverse concepts of education, educational contents, actors, media, methods, ideals and intentions at play, and anchoring their case studies in the broader panorama of European history. Based on this material, the editors propose a systematic framework to map the research field.

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Edited by William Wians and Gary Gurtler

This volume, the thirty-first year of published proceedings, contains five papers and commentaries presented to the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy during academic year 2014-15. Paper topics include: the volatility of ἔρως in the Symposium as not self-directed to good or bad; the ‘analytical’ reading of the tripartite soul as autonomous sub-agents and whether it resembles neuroscience; holiness in the Euthyphro as misconstrued by the difficulty translating finite passives and passive participles in English; evil in Proclus as an indefinite nature redefined by privation, subcontrary and parypostasis, contrary to Plotinus’ identification of matter and evil; Plato’s literary reworking of the encounter of Odysseus with the Cyclops in the Sophist and of his struggle with the suitors in the Statesman.

Power, Politics and the Cults of Isis

Proceedings of the Vth International Conference of Isis Studies, Boulogne-sur-Mer, October 13-15, 2011

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Edited by Laurent Bricault and Miguel John Versluys

In the Hellenistic and Roman world intimate relations existed between those holding power and the cults of Isis. This book is the first to chart these various appropriations over time within a comparative perspective. Ten carefully selected case studies show that “the Egyptian gods” were no exotic outsiders to the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean, but constituted a well institutionalised and frequently used religious option. Ranging from the early Ptolemies and Seleucids to late Antiquity, the case studies illustrate how much symbolic meaning was made with the cults of Isis by kings, emperors, cities and elites. Three articles introduce the theme of Isis and the longue durée theoretically, simultaneously exploring a new approach towards concepts like ruler cult and Religionspolitik.