Polytheism and Society at Athens

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0199216118
Release Date: 2005-11-24
Genre: History

This book is the first attempt that has ever been made to give a comprehensive account of the religious life of ancient Athens. The city's many festivals are discussed in detail, with attention to recent anthropological theory; so too, for instance, are the cults of households and of smaller groups, the role of religious practice and argumentation in public life, the authority of priests, the activities of religious professionals such as seers and priestesses, magic, the place of theatrical representations of the gods within public attitudes to the divine. A long final section considers the sphere of activity of the various gods, and takes Athens as a uniquely detailed test case for the structuralist approach to polytheism. The work is a synchronic, thematically organized complement (though designed to be read independently) to the same author's Athenian Religion: A History (Oxford 1996).

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199274833
Release Date: 2005-11-24
Genre: History

The first attempt that has ever been made to give a comprehensive account of the religious life of ancient Athens.

Greek Gods Abroad

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520967250
Release Date: 2017-05-23
Genre: History

From even before the time of Alexander the Great, the Greek gods spread throughout the Mediterranean, carried by settlers and largely adopted by the indigenous populations. By the third century b.c., gods bearing Greek names were worshipped everywhere from Spain to Afghanistan, with the resulting religious systems a variable blend of Greek and indigenous elements. Greek Gods Abroad examines the interaction between Greek religion and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean with which it came into contact. Robert Parker shows how Greek conventions for naming gods were extended and adapted and provides bold new insights into religious and psychological values across the Mediterranean. The result is a rich portrait of ancient polytheism as it was practiced over 600 years of history.

Athenian Religion

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: UOM:39015059198450
Release Date: 1997
Genre: Religion

This book is an attempt to take seriously the cliche that Greek religion is an eminently social phenomenon. It differs from `Histories of Greek Religion' by focusing on a particular Greek city with particular social structures. It treats a much broader range of phenomena than do books on `Athenian festivals'. It seeks to bridge the gap that usually divides studies of Greek religion from studies of Greek history and society. Among the topics discussed are the actual dates and circumstances of foundation of many temples, festivals, and cults at Athens, the historical development of the social structures within which religious activities took place, and the effects in the religious sphere of the radical shift in Athens' political life from tyranny to democracy and the acquisition of an empire. Robert Parker investigates the relation between religion and political prestige, considers the introduction of new cults, and looks in detail at such key personalities and events in the religious history of Athens as Lycurgus the Eteoboutad and his religious policies, and the trial of Socrates. The period covered is roughly that from 750 to 250 BC.

On Greek Religion

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801462010
Release Date: 2011-02-10
Genre: History

"There is something of a paradox about our access to ancient Greek religion. We know too much, and too little. The materials that bear on it far outreach an individual's capacity to assimilate: so many casual allusions in so many literary texts over more than a millennium, so many direct or indirect references in so many inscriptions from so many places in the Greek world, such an overwhelming abundance of physical remains. But genuinely revealing evidence does not often cluster coherently enough to create a vivid sense of the religious realities of a particular time and place. Amid a vast archipelago of scattered islets of information, only a few are of a size to be habitable."-from the Preface In On Greek Religion, Robert Parker offers a provocative and wide-ranging entrée into the world of ancient Greek religion, focusing especially on the interpretive challenge of studying a religious system that in many ways remains desperately alien from the vantage point of the twenty-first century. One of the world's leading authorities on ancient Greek religion, Parker raises fundamental methodological questions about the study of this vast subject. Given the abundance of evidence we now have about the nature and practice of religion among the ancient Greeks-including literary, historical, and archaeological sources-how can we best exploit that evidence and agree on the central underlying issues? Is it possible to develop a larger, "unified" theoretical framework that allows for coherent discussions among archaeologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and historians? In seven thematic chapters, Parker focuses on key themes in Greek religion: the epistemological basis of Greek religion; the relation of ritual to belief; theories of sacrifice; the nature of gods and heroes; the meaning of rituals, festivals, and feasts; and the absence of religious authority. Ranging across the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods, he draws on multiple disciplines both within and outside classical studies. He also remains sensitive to varieties of Greek religious experience. Also included are five appendixes in which Parker applies his innovative methodological approach to particular cases, such as the acceptance of new gods and the consultation of oracles. On Greek Religion will stir debate for its bold questioning of disciplinary norms and for offering scholars and students new points of departure for future research.

Religion Grecque

Author: Louise Bruit Zaidman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521423570
Release Date: 1992-12-17
Genre: History

This book is an English translation of the French work La Religion Grecque. Its purpose is to consider how religious beliefs and cultic rituals were given expression in ancient Greece. The chapters cover first ritual and then myth, rooting the account in the practices of the classical city while also taking seriously the world of the imagination. For this edition the bibliography has been substantially revised to meet the needs of a mainly student, English-speaking readership. The book is enriched throughout by illustrations, and by quotations from original sources.

Civic Rites

Author: Nancy Evans
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520262027
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

"Civic Rites clearly demonstrates the complete interdependence of religion and democracy in Athens, illustrating just how much the ancient Athenians' view of the relationship between these powerful forces differs from that in twenty-first century, Western democracies. Evans has provided a systematic, thorough, and lively treatment, liberating readers from modern expectations and offering a new window onto Athenian society."--Loren J. Samons, author of What's Wrong with Democracy? From Athenian Practice to American Worship "It is a double task the author has undertaken: to demonstrate the interdependence, nay, integration of politics and religion in the high days of 'democratic' Athens and to bring this special form of 'democracy' home to a contemporary non-specialist public. She brilliantly succeeds in both, presenting a clear and poignant narrative with graphic details. Civic Rites is a novel and fascinating course through a seemingly well-known field."--Walter Burkert, author of Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth "In equal measures intelligent, accessible, and well-informed, this book provides a contemporary introduction to classical Athenian religious practices and their manifold cultural significance. Evans interweaves overviews of political, economic, and social history with engaging descriptions of several major Attic rites. This book will interest specialists while providing students with an illuminating pathway into the familiar yet alien world of ancient Greek religion."--Deborah Boedeker, Brown University "With vivid, elegant writing and compelling imagination, Nancy Evans recreates the complex interaction of religion and politics in the ancient Athenian Democracy. Deftly interweaving chapters on cult and on political developments, she shows the general reader an Athens that is stranger to modern sensibilities than we often realize, and yet one from which we can learn many things about democratic life. A wonderful achievement."--Martha Nussbaum, author of The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy

Battling the Gods

Author: Tim Whitmarsh
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307958334
Release Date: 2015-11-10
Genre: History

How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities. Homer’s epic poems of human striving, journeying, and passion were ancient Greece’s only “sacred texts,” but no ancient Greek thought twice about questioning or mocking his stories of the gods. Priests were functionaries rather than sources of moral or cosmological wisdom. The absence of centralized religious authority made for an extraordinary variety of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to the atheos, or “godless.” Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic range of ideas about the gods, focusing on the colorful individuals who challenged their existence. Among these were some of the greatest ancient poets and philosophers and writers, as well as the less well known: Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; Socrates, executed for rejecting the gods of the Athenian state; Epicurus and his followers, who thought gods could not intervene in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata. Before the revolutions of late antiquity, which saw the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced by imperial might, there were few constraints on belief. Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity’s establishment as Rome’s state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label “atheist” was used now to demonize anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy—and so it would remain for centuries. As the twenty-first century shapes up into a time of mass information, but also, paradoxically, of collective amnesia concerning the tangled histories of religions, Whitmarsh provides a bracing antidote to our assumptions about the roots of freethinking. By shining a light on atheism’s first thousand years, Battling the Gods offers a timely reminder that nonbelief has a wealth of tradition of its own, and, indeed, its own heroes. From the Hardcover edition.

Kharis

Author: Sarah Kate Istra Winter
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 143823192X
Release Date: 2008-07-08
Genre: Religion

Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored delves into the many aspects of the revival of Greek paganism, from its ancient roots to its modern practice. It is written for the person new to Hellenismos, and for the person who has been practicing for years, as well as for people outside of the religion who are interested in learning more. It covers not only the basics of worship, but also how make the ancient religion relevant to modern times, cultivate relationships with the gods and other divinities, and create a deeply satisfying spiritual life. The emphasis of this book is on the concept of kharis, the reciprocity so implicit in the practice of Hellenic polytheism. From the simplest devotional act, to prayer, to divination, to mysticism, the principle of reciprocal favor governs the heart of this religion and lets each worshipper encounter the gods on a real and profound level.

Athenian Democratic Origins

Author: Geoffrey de Ste. Croix
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199255177
Release Date: 2004-03-25
Genre: History

In these interconnected essays the late Geoffrey de Ste. Croix defends the institutions of the Athenian democracy, showing that they were much more practical, rational, and impartial than has usually been acknowledged. A major essay provides a new view of Aristotle's use of sources in The Constitution of the Athenians, on which so much of our knowledge of Athenian constitutional history depends. Ste. Croix also argues that commercial factors had much less influence on Greek politics than modern scholars tend to assume, and that there was no such thing in any Greek state as a `commercial aristocracy'. As always, he works out these general positions with the utmost lucidity and pungency, and in meticulous detail. Though written in the 1960s, these hitherto unpublished essays by a great radical historian will still constitute a major contribution to contemporary debate. The editors and other specialists have supplied an updating Afterword to each chapter, and the book contains a thorough index.

Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens

Author: Peter Liddel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199226580
Release Date: 2007-10-11
Genre: History

A fresh approach to the old problem of the nature of individual liberty in ancient Athens. Using modern political theory as a springboard, Peter Liddel argues that the ancient Athenians held liberty to consist of the substantial obligations (political, financial, and military) of citizenship.

Cults and Rites in Ancient Greece

Author: Michael H. Jameson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316123195
Release Date: 2014-10-16
Genre: History

This volume assembles fourteen highly influential articles written by Michael H. Jameson over a period of nearly fifty years, edited and updated by the author himself. They represent both the scope and the signature style of Jameson's engagement with the subject of ancient Greek religion. The collection complements the original publications in two ways: firstly, it makes the articles more accessible; and secondly, the volume offers readers a unique opportunity to observe that over almost five decades of scholarship Jameson developed a distinctive method, a signature style, a particular perspective, a way of looking that could perhaps be fittingly called a 'Jamesonian approach' to the study of Greek religion. This approach, recognizable in each article individually, becomes unmistakable through the concentration of papers collected here. The particulars of the Jamesonian approach are insightfully discussed in the five introductory essays written for this volume by leading world authorities on polis religion.

Athenian Myths and Festivals

Author: Sourvinou-Inwood Christiane the late
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780199592074
Release Date: 2011-01-27
Genre: History

Moving out from a particular problem about a particular Athenian festival, the late Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood investigates central questions concerning Athenian festivals and the myths that underlay them. This is the final work of an iconic figure among students of Greek religion.

Ancient Greek Religion

Author: Jon D. Mikalson
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781444358193
Release Date: 2011-09-07
Genre: Religion

Ancient Greek Religion provides an introduction to the fundamental beliefs, practices, and major deities of Greek religion. Focuses on Athens in the classical period Includes detailed discussion of Greek gods and heroes, myth and cult, and vivid descriptions of Greek religion as it was practiced Ancient texts are presented in boxes to promote thought and discussion, and abundant illustrations help readers visualize the rich and varied religious life of ancient Greece Revised edition includes additional boxed texts and bibliography, an 8-page color plate section, a new discussion of the nature of Greek “piety,” and a new chapter on Greek Religion and Greek Culture

From Akhenaten to Moses

Author: Jan Assmann
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9789774166310
Release Date: 2014
Genre: History

The shift from polytheism to monotheism changed the world radically. Akhenaten and Moses-a figure of history and a figure of tradition-symbolize this shift in its incipient, revolutionary stages and represent two civilizations that were brought into the closest connection as early as the Book of Exodus, where Egypt stands for the old world to be rejected and abandoned in order to enter the new one. The seven chapters of this seminal study shed light on the great transformation from different angles. Between Egypt in the first chapter and monotheism in the last, five chapters deal in various ways with the transition from one to the other, analyzing the Exodus myth, understanding the shift in terms of evolution and revolution, confronting Akhenaten and Moses in a new way, discussing Karl Jaspers' theory of the Axial Age, and dealing with the eighteenth-century view of the Egyptian mysteries as a cultural model.