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Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity
Author: Peter-Ben Smit
In Felix culpa: Ritual Failure and Theological Innovation in Early Christianity, Peter-Ben Smit argues that ritual developments were key to the development of early Christianity. Focusing on rituals that go wrong, he shows precisely how ritual infelicities are a catalyst for reflection upon ritual and their development in terms of their performance as well as the meaning attributed to them. Smit discusses texts from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Mark, and provides a chapter on Philo of Alexandria by way of contextualization in the Greco-Roman world. By stressing the importance of ritual, the present book invites a reconsideration of all too doctrinally focused approaches to early Christian communities and identities. It also highlights the embodied and performative character of what being in Christ amounted to two millennia ago.
The first online collection of Brill’s flagship series in Religion in Antiquity ( Religions in the Graeco-Roman World) presents monographs and collections of essays that make original contributions to the field. The series, formerly known as Études Préliminaires aux Religions Orientales dans l'Empire Romain (EPRO), is a forum for studies in the social and cultural function of religions in the Greek and the Roman world, dealing with the religions of city and region between ca. 400 bce and 700 ce, both on their own terms and in their interaction with early Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Special attention is given to the religious history of regions and cities which illustrate the practical workings of these processes.

This e-series also includes Studies in Greek and Roman Religion (1980-1990), a series of 7 volumes on international studies in Hellenic and Roman theology.

This collection contains 190 titles published up to and including all titles published in 2015.

Une analyse comparée de la notion de “démon” dans la Septante et dans la Bible Hébraïque
Author: Anna Angelini
This book offers a thorough analysis of demons in the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint in the wider context of the ancient Near East and the Greek world. Taking a fresh and innovative angle of enquiry, Anna Angelini investigates continuities and changes in the representation of divine powers in Hellenistic Judaism, thereby revealing the role of the Greek translation of the Bible in shaping ancient demonology, angelology, and pneumatology. Combining philological and semantic analyses with a historical approach and anthropological insights, the author both develops a new method for analyzing religious categories within biblical traditions and sheds new light on the importance of the Septuagint for the history of ancient Judaism.

Le livre propose une analyse approfondie des démons dans la Bible Hébraïque et la Septante, à la lumière du Proche Orient Ancien et du contexte grec. Par un nouvel angle d’approche, Anna Angelini met en lumière dynamiques de continuité et de changement dans les représentations des puissances divines à l’époque hellénistique, en soulignant l’importance de la traduction grecque de la Bible pour la compréhension de la démonologie, de l’angélologie et de la pneumatologie antiques. En intégrant l’analyse philologique et sémantique avec une approche historique et des méthodes anthropologiques, l’autrice développe une nouvelle méthodologie pour analyser des catégories religieuses à l’intérieur des traditions bibliques et affirme la valeur de la Septante pour l’histoire du judaïsme antique.
Scholarly monographs on the religious iconography of Mandaeism.
In Urban Rituals in Sacred Landscapes in Hellenistic Asia Minor, Christina G. Williamson examines the phenomenon of monumental sanctuaries in the countryside of Asia Minor that accompanied the second rise of the Greek city-state in the Hellenistic period. Moving beyond monolithic categories, Williamson provides a transdisciplinary frame of analysis that takes into account the complex local histories, landscapes, material culture, and social and political dynamics of such shrines in their transition towards becoming prestigious civic sanctuaries.

This frame of analysis is applied to four case studies: the sanctuaries of Zeus Labraundos, Sinuri, Hekate at Lagina, and Zeus Panamaros. All in Karia, these well-documented shrines offer valuable insights for understanding religious strategies adopted by emerging cities as they sought to establish their position in the expanding world.
Les 203 dédicaces votives en araméen de Palmyre de la période entre IIe et IIIe siècle de n.è. intriguent par 3 dénominations divines : « Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité », « Maître de l’Univers » et « le Miséricordieux ». Des études précédentes ont postulé univoquement l’anonymat divin. En étant déçu par cette explication du phénomène des inscriptions palmyréniennes, le livre Des dédicaces sans théonyme de Palmyre : Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité a pris pour le point de départ les concepts de remerciement et de louange, en découvrant l’existence d’un hymne rituel comme origine de la formule « Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité ». Qui sont donc des dieux, des récepteurs des dédicaces de Palmyre ? Peut-on combiner un nom propre d’un dieu avec ces trois formules ? Ce livre répond à ces questions flagrantes.

203 Palmyrene-Aramaic votive inscriptions from the period between the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE contain three intriguing designations of the gods: “Blessed (be) his name forever”, “Master of the Universe” and “the Merciful”. Previous studies have claimed that the god to whom these inscriptions are addressed is anonymous. Not satisfied with this explanation, Des dédicaces sans théonyme de Palmyre: Béni (soit) son nom pour l’éternité addresses the phenomenon through the lens of thanksgiving and praise, revealing the existence of a contemporary ritual hymn, the origin of the Palmyrene formula “Blessed his name forever”. Who, then, were these gods, the recipients of the dedications? Can we find a match between the formulae and a proper name? This book provides answers to these fascinating questions.
Author: Bruce Lincoln
In Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran, Bruce Lincoln offers a vast overview on different aspects of the Indo-Iranian, Zoroastrian and Pre-Islamic mythologies, religions and cultural issues. The book is organized in four sections according to the body of evidence they engage most directly: Avestan, Old Persian, Pahlavi, and Iranian materials in comparison with other data, including studies of myths, especially those with cosmogonic implications, ritual practices, cosmological constructions of space and time, points of intersection between religion, ethics, law, and politics, ideological aspects of scientific and medical theorizing, social organization and gender relations, and other diverse topics.
Social Networks and Religious Identity in Late Antique Egypt
The Manichaean Church in Kellis presents an in-depth study of social organisation within the religious movement known as Manichaeism in Roman Egypt. In particular, it employs papyri from Kellis (Ismant el-Kharab), a village in the Dakhleh Oasis, to explore the socio-religious world of lay Manichaeans in the fourth century CE.
Manichaeism has often been perceived as an elitist, esoteric religion. Challenging this view, Teigen draws on social network theory and cultural sociology, and engages with the study of lived ancient religion, in order to apprehend how laypeople in Kellis appropriated Manichaean identity and practice in their everyday lives. This perspective, he argues, not only provides a better understanding of Manichaeism: it also has wider implications for how we understand late antique ‘religion’ as a social phenomenon
SENSORIVM: The Senses in Roman Polytheism explores how a range of cults and rituals were perceived and experienced by participants through one or more senses.

The present collection brings together papers from an international group of researchers all inspired by ‘the sensory turn’. Focusing on a wide range of ritual traditions from around the ancient Roman world, they explore the many ways in which smell and taste, sight and sound, separately and together, involved participants in religious performance. Music, incense, images and colors, contrasts of light and dark played as great a role as belief or observance in generating religious experience.

Together they contribute to an original understanding of the Roman sensory universe, and add an embodied perspective to the notion of Lived Ancient Religion.

Contributors are Martin Devecka; Visa Helenius; Yulia Ustinova; Attilio Mastrocinque; Maik Patzelt; Mark Bradley; Adeline Grand-Clément; Rocío Gordillo Hervás; Rebeca Rubio; Elena Muñiz Grijalvo; David Espinosa-Espinosa; A. César González-García, Marco V. García-Quintela; Jörg Rüpke; Rosa Sierra del Molino; Israel Campos Méndez; Valentino Gasparini; Nicole Belayche; Antón Alvar Nuño; Jaime Alvar Ezquerra; Clelia Martínez Maza.