Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice

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Princeton University Press, Jun 19, 2000 - Religion - 511 pages

This is an unprecedented collection of nearly seventy Late Antique primary religious texts. These texts--all in new English translation and many appearing in English for the first time--represent every major religious current from the late first century until the rise of Islam. Produced through the efforts of thirty-six leading scholars in the field, they constitute a comprehensive view of religious practice in Late Antiquity.


Religious life and performance during this period comprised diverse, often unusual practices. Philosophical ascent, magic, legal pronouncement, hymnography, dietary and sexual restriction, and rhetoric were all part of this deeply fascinating world. Religious and political identity often intertwined, as reflected in the Roman persecution of Christians. And a fluid boundary between religion and superstition was contested in daily life. Many practices, including ascetic training, crossed religious boundaries. Others, such as "incubation" at specific temples and certain divination rites, were distinctive practices of individual groups and orders.


Intrinsically interesting, the practice of religion in the Late Antique also edifies modern-day religious life. As this volume shows, the origins of the contemporary Western religious terrain can be gleaned in this period. Rabbinic Judaism flourished and spread. Christianity developed still-important theological categories and structures. And even movements that did not survive intact--such as Neoplatonism and the once-powerful Manichaean churches--continue to influence religion today.


This rich sourcebook includes discussions of asceticism, religious organization, ritual, martyrdom, religion's social implications, law, and theology. Its unique emphasis on practice and its inclusion of texts translated from lesser-known languages advance the study of religious history in several directions. A strong interdisciplinary orientation will reward scholars and students of religion, theology, gender studies, classical literatures, and history. Each text is accompanied by an introduction and a bibliography for further reading and research, making the book appropriate for use in any university or seminary classroom.

 

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User Review  - bezoar44 - LibraryThing

The forty-two chapters of this book offer a wide variety of excerpts of Late Antiquity (300 - 700 CE) religious texts. Religions include pagan Greek, Roman, and Egyptian; Jewish; early and orthodox ... Read full review

Contents

The First Sahidic Life of Pachomius James E Goehring
19
Philostratus of Athens Life of Apollonius of Tyana
34
Porphyry On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books
50
Evagrius Ponticus on Prayer and Anger Columba Stewart OSB
65
PseudoAthanasius Discourse on Salvation to a Virgin
82
Basil of Caesarea The Prooemium of the Regulae fusius tractatae
100
Sermons of Columbanus Arthur G Holder
109
Manichaean Asceticism Jason David BeOuhn
122
The Mithras Liturgy and Sepher HaRazim Kimberly B Stratton
303
Jason David BeDuhn
316
The Seal of the Merkavah Michael D Swartz
322
Anonymous Spanish Correspondence or the Letter of the Sheass
330
Amuletic Invocations of Christ for Health and Fortune
340
The Hymns of Ambrose Carl P E Springer
347
Hymns to Mary the Mother of God the Theotokos
357
Manichaean Hymnody Jason David BeOuhn
364

Talmudic Texts and Jewish Social Life Daniel Boyarin
133
Julian the Apostate Against the Galileans Elizabeth Geraldine Burr
143
A Thriving Native Cult in the Fifth Century and Its Demise under
156
Derek Krueger
177
Nisibis in Ephrems Hymns on Nicomedia
189
Scene One David G Hunter
207
An Anonymous Letter to a Woman Named Susanna
218
A Plea to a Local God for a Husbands Attentions David
230
John Chrysostom Sermons on City Life Blake Leyerle
247
Laws on Religion from the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes
263
The Acts of the Council of Aquileia 381 C E
275
James C Skedros
289
The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity Maureen A Tilley
387
The Martyrs of Lyons Frederick W Weidmann
398
The Martyrdom of Habbib the Deacon Robert Doran
413
Gregory Nazianzen Homily on the Nativity of Christ
443
John of Damascus and the Council of Hiereia
454
Asterius of Amasea Ekphrasis on the Holy Martyr Euphemia
464
Popular Religious Practices in FifthCentury Egypt
473
Jason David BeLuhn
481
Iamblichus de Mysteriis Book I The de Mysteriis Peter T Struck
489
Index
507
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About the author (2000)

Richard Valantasis is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He is the author The Gospel of Thomas and coeditor of Asceticism.

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