Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide

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Harvard University Press, 2004 - History - 697 pages
2 Reviews

Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners journeying from place to place peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World, the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective.

At once sweeping in scope and groundbreaking in format, the Guide eschews the usual encyclopedic approach, instead presenting, side by side, materials from ten cultures and traditions. Thus specific beliefs, cults, gods, and ritual practices that arose and developed in Mediterranean religions--of Egypt, Anatolia and the Near East, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece, and the Roman world, from the third millennium to the fourth century C.E.--are interpreted in comparison with one another, and with reference to aspects that crisscross cultural boundaries, such as Cosmology, Myth, Law and Ethics, and Magic. Written by leading scholars of ancient religion, the essays in this guide sketch the various religious histories, raise central theoretical issues, and examine individual topics such as Sacred Times and Spaces; Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses; Sin, Pollution, and Purity; Death, the Afterlife, and Other Last Things; Divination and Prophecy; Deities and Demons; and Sacred Texts and Canonicity.

Clearly and stylishly written, grandly illustrated, this comprehensive work welcomes readers as never before into the diversity and interconnections of religion in the ancient world.

 

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Religions of the ancient world: a guide

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Johnston (Greek/Latin, Ohio State) has solicited the contributions of over 100 scholars to produce this informative but curiously organized reference work dealing specifically (despite the title) with ... Read full review

Contents

V
3
VI
17
VII
32
VIII
45
IX
59
X
71
XI
84
XII
98
XXX
288
XXXI
311
XXXII
325
XXXIII
349
XXXIV
370
XXXV
392
XXXVI
423
XXXVII
438

XIII
112
XIV
127
XV
139
XVI
153
XVII
155
XVIII
165
XIX
173
XX
181
XXI
189
XXII
197
XXIII
206
XXIV
210
XXV
220
XXVI
225
XXVII
233
XXVIII
241
XXIX
243
XXXVIII
452
XXXIX
470
XL
496
XLI
514
XLII
531
XLIII
547
XLIV
564
XLV
578
XLVI
598
XLVII
622
XLVIII
640
XLIX
657
L
669
LI
671
LII
673
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The Religion of the Romans
Jörg Rüpke
No preview available - 2007
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About the author (2004)

Sarah Iles Johnston is Professor of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University.

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