Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity

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Walter de Gruyter, 2010 - Philosophy - 442 pages
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Many recent discoveries have confirmed the importance of Orphism for ancient Greek religion, philosophy and literature. Its nature and role are still, however, among the most debated problems of Classical scholarship. A cornerstone of the question is its relationship to Christianity, which modern authors have too often discussed from apologetic perspectives or projections of the Christian model into its supposed precedent. Besides, modern approaches are strongly based on ancient ones, since Orpheus and the poems and mysteries attributed to him were fundamental in the religious controversies of Late Antiquity. Both Pagan and Christian authors often present Orphism as a precedent, alternative or imitation of Chistianity.
This free and thorough study of the ancient sources sheds light on these controversial questions. The presence of the Orphic tradition in Imperial Age, documented by literary and epigraphical evidence, is confronted with the informations transmitted by Christian apologists on Orphic poems and cults. The manifold Christian treatments of Pagan sources, and their particular value to understand Greek religion, are illuminated by this specific case, which exemplifies the complex encounter between Classical culture and Jewish-Christian tradition.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Orphic religious presence in the Imperial Age
31
Fields of intersection
87
Orphic Tradition in Christian Apologetic Literature
127
Christian Strategies
219
Orphism as a bridge between Christianity and Paganism
275
Orphism in the light of Christian apologetics
295
The ritual experience
344
Causes of the parallels
358
Appendices
375
Bibliography
393
Index locorum
421
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About the author (2010)

Miguel Herrero de J uregui, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

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