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Knowledge and Profanation

Transgressing the Boundaries of Religion in Premodern Scholarship

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Edited by Martin Mulsow and Asaph Ben-Tov

Knowledge and Profanation offers numerous instances of profoundly religious polemicists profanizing other religions ad majorem gloriam Dei, as well as sincere adherents of their own religion, whose reflective scholarly undertakings were perceived as profanizing transgressions – occasionally with good reason. In the history of knowledge of religion and profanation unintended consequences often play a decisive role. Can too much knowledge of religion be harmful? Could the profanation of a foreign religion turn out to be a double-edged sword? How much profanating knowledge of other religions could be tolerated in a pre-modern world?

In eleven contributions, internationally renowned scholars analyze cases of learned profanation, committed by scholars ranging from the Italian Renaissance to the early nineteenth century, as well as several antique predecessors.

Contributors are: Asaph Ben-Tov, Ulrich Groetsch, Andreas Mahler, Karl Morrison, Martin Mulsow, Anthony Ossa-Richardson, Wolfgang Spickermann, Riccarda Suitner, John Woodbridge, Azzan Yadin, and Holger Zellentin
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Edited by Francesco Venturi

This volume investigates the various ways in which writers comment on, present, and defend their own works, and at the same time themselves, across early modern Europe. A multiplicity of self-commenting modes, ranging from annotations to explicatory prose to prefaces to separate critical texts and exemplifying a variety of literary genres, are subjected to analysis. Self-commentaries are more than just an external apparatus: they direct and control reception of the primary text, thus affecting notions of authorship and readership. With the writer understood as a potentially very influential and often tendentious interpreter of their own work, the essays in this collection offer new perspectives on pre-modern and modern forms of critical self-consciousness, self-representation, and self-validation.

Contributors are Harriet Archer, Gilles Bertheau, Carlo Caruso, Jeroen De Keyser, Russel Ganim, Joseph Harris, Ian Johnson, Richard Maber, Martin McLaughlin, John O’Brien, Magdalena Ożarska, Federica Pich, Brian Richardson, Els Stronks, and Colin Thompson.
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Edited by Jonathan Burgess, Jonathan L. Ready and Christos C. Tsagalis

Volume 3 of Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic explores interconnections between the Odyssey and the Nostoi and the Telegony of the Epic Cycle, a collection of lost early Greek epics. The Odyssey is situated between the narrative time of the two Cycle poems, with the Nostoi narrating the returns of heroes after the Trojan War and the Telegony narrating Odysseus’s adventures after his return to Ithaca. The six articles that follow the introduction compare and contrast the three epics, employing different methodologies and reaching divergent conclusions. Topics include pre-Homeric mythological traditions, the potential for intertextuality between orally performed epics, and the flexible boundaries of early epics.
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Edited by Christopher Moore

Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Socrates, edited by Christopher Moore, provides almost unbroken coverage, across three-dozen studies, of 2450 years of philosophical and literary engagement with Socrates – the singular Athenian intellectual, paradigm of moral discipline, and inspiration for millennia of philosophical, rhetorical, and dramatic composition. Following an Introduction reflecting on the essentially “receptive” nature of Socrates’ influence (by contrast to Plato’s), chapters address the uptake of Socrates by authors in the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Late Antique (including Latin Christian, Syriac, and Arabic), Medieval (including Byzantine), Renaissance, Early Modern, Late Modern, and Twentieth-Century periods. Together they reveal the continuity of Socrates’ idiosyncratic, polyvalent, and deep imprint on the history of Western thought, and witness the value of further research in the reception of Socrates.
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Edited by Wolfram Hörandner, Andreas Rhoby and Nikolaos Zagklas

This book offers the first complete overview of Byzantine poetry from the 4th to the 15th centuries. By bringing together 22 scholars, it explores the development of poetic trends and the interaction between poetry and society throughout the Byzantine millennium. Moreover, it discusses a wide range of issues concerning the writing and reading of poetry (such as style, language, metrics, function, and circulation). The volume focuses on the driving forces behind the vast verse production in Byzantium and beyond. It surveys a large number of texts and looks closely at their place within the social and cultural milieus of their authors. Overall, it aims to enhance our understanding of Byzantine poetry and shed light on its important place in Byzantine literary culture.

Contributors are: Eirini Afentoulidou, Gianfranco Agosti, Roderick Beaton, Floris Bernard, Carolina Cupane, Ivan Drpić, Kristoffel Demoen, Jürgen Fuchsbauer, Antonia Giannouli, Martin Hinterberger, Wolfram Hörandner, Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys, Marc Lauxtermann, Ingela Nilsson, Emilie van Opstall, Andreas Rhoby, Kurt Smolak, Foteini Spingou, Maria Tomadaki, Ioannis Vassis, Nikos Zagklas.
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Edited by Petros Bouras-Vallianatos and Barbara Zipser

Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Galen presents a comprehensive account of the afterlife of the corpus of the second-century AD Greek physician Galen of Pergamum. In 31 chapters, written by a range of experts in the field, it shows how Galen was adopted, adapted, admired, contested, and criticised across diverse intellectual environments and geographical regions, from Late Antiquity to the present day, and from Europe to North Africa, the Middle and the Far East.
The volume offers both introductory material and new analysis on the transmission and dissemination of Galen’s works and ideas through translations into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew and other languages, the impact of Galenic thought on medical practice, as well as his influence in non-medical contexts, including philosophy and alchemy.
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Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus

A Study of Their Secular Education and Educational Ideals

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Erkki Koskenniemi

In Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus Erkki Koskenniemi investigates how two Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, quoted, mentioned and referred to Greek writers and philosophers. He asks what this tells us about their Greek education, their contacts with Classical culture in general, and about the societies in which Philo and Josephus lived. Although Philo in Alexandria and Josephus in Jerusalem both had the possibility to acquire a thorough knowledge of Greek language and culture, they show very different attitudes. Philo, who was probably admitted to the gymnasium, often and enthusiastically refers to Greek poets and philosophers. Josephus on the other hand rarely quotes from their works, giving evidence of a more traditionalistic tendencies among Jewish nobility in Jerusalem.