Ancient Mystery Cults

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674033870

Category: History

Page: 181

View: 8158

The foremost historian of Greek religion provides the first comprehensive, comparative study of a little-known aspect of ancient religious beliefs and practices. Secret mystery cults flourished within the larger culture of the public religion of Greece and Rome for roughly a thousand years. This book is neither a history nor a survey but a comparative phenomenology. Concentrating on five major cults. In defining the mysteries and describing their rituals, membership, organization, and dissemination, Walter Burkert displays the remarkable erudition we have come to expect of him; he also shows sensitivity and sympathy in interpreting the experiences and motivations of the devotees.
Posted in History

Greek Mysteries

The Archaeology of Ancient Greek Secret Cults

Author: Michael B. Cosmopoulos

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 113453616X

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 881

Written by an international team of acknowledged experts, this excellent book studies a wide range of contributions and showcases new research on the archaeology, ritual and history of Greek mystery cults. With a lack of written evidence that exists for the mysteries, archaeology has proved central to explaining their significance and this volume is key to understanding a phenomenon central to Greek religion and society.
Posted in History

The Ancient Mysteries

A Sourcebook of Sacred Texts

Author: Marvin W. Meyer

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812216929

Category: History

Page: 266

View: 4498

"A very balanced selection of sources for the study of the ancient so-called mystery religions, starting with Eleusis and ending with mysteries in Judaism and Christianity. . . . No other modern sourcebook exists in this field."—Kurt Rudolph
Posted in History

Relighting the Souls

Studies in Plutarch, in Greek Literature, Religion, and Philosophy, and in the New Testament Background

Author: Frederick E. Brenk

Publisher: Franz Steiner Verlag

ISBN: 9783515071581

Category: History

Page: 420

View: 9781

In the last ten years, there has been an enormous awakening of interest in Plutarch. This collection contains many stimulating and important articles from the Plutarch renaissance, especially on the interaction between divine and human worlds, and on expectations in the next life. But treated here are also a number of other challenging topics in classical Greek literature. Among them are the Near Eastern background of early Greek myth and literature, the decisive speech of Achilleus' mentor, Phoenix, in the Iliad, divine assimilations and ruler cult, the language of Menander's young men, the vision of God in Middle Platonism, blessed afterlife in the mysteries, Greek epiphanies and the Acts of the Apostles, and the revolt at Jerusalem against Antiochos Epiphanes in the light of similar cities under Hellenistic rule. Another book of Frederick E. Brenk: Clothed in Purple Light.
Posted in History

Mystery Cults in the Ancient World

Author: Hugh Bowden

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780500251645

Category: Cults

Page: 256

View: 6337

Mystery cults are one of the most intriguing areas of Greek and Roman religion. They were an important part of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, but their actual practices were shrouded in secrecy, and much of what they were about has remained unclear until now.What participants did, and what they actually experienced, should be central to our understanding. This is the first book to describe and explain all the major mystery cults of the ancient world, cult by cult, reconstructing the rituals and exploring their origins. It makes plentiful use of artistic and archaeological evidence, as well as ancient literature and epigraphy. Greek painted pottery, Roman frescoes, inscribed gold tablets from Greek and South Italian tombs and the excavated sites of ancient religious sanctuaries all contribute to our understanding of ancient mystery cults. Making use of the most recent work on these cults, the book is also informed by crucial current work on the anthropology and cognitive science of religion. Richly illustrated and clearly written, it is a significant contribution to the study of these cults, but it is also accessible to a general readership. More than any other book on ancient religion, it allows the reader to understand what it was like to participate in these lifetransforming religious events.
Posted in Cults

Second Corinthians and Paul's Gospel of Human Mortality

How Paul's Experience of Death Authorizes His Apostolic Authority in Corinth

Author: Richard I. Deibert

Publisher: Mohr Siebeck

ISBN: 9783161533778

Category: Religion

Page: 293

View: 4970

In this close reading of Second Corinthians and examination of prevailing attitudes toward death in Greco-Roman Corinth, Richard I. Deibert proposes Paul's physical mortality as the window through which to understand both the mystery of his collapsing authority in Corinth and the heart of his gospel. In his own experience of physical dying, Paul experiences the "deadness" of the resurrected Jesus, which paradoxically communicates life to him and through him to his congregations. Paul discovers that death has been transfigured into a source of life and, consequently, that human mortality has been infused with saving power. This study of human mortality clarifies, both for Paul's day and for our own, how crucial it is to guard the human person as an inseparable unity of body and soul, and to keep theology grounded in experience. Richard I. Deibert's work is of vital interest not only to students of early Christian and New Testament history, but also to students of anthropology, philosophy, and theology.
Posted in Religion

Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520047709

Category: History

Page: 226

View: 6309

Discusses the concept of myth, looks at the traditions of Greek ritual, and considers specific Greek myths
Posted in History


A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion

Author: Jane Ellen Harrison

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1108009492

Category: History

Page: 604

View: 4190

The revolutionary classical scholar Jane Ellen Harrison pieces together the origins of early Greek religion in this seminal 1927 work.
Posted in History

Secret Groups in Ancient Judaism

Author: Michael Stone

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190842393

Category: Religion

Page: 224

View: 5172

Were there groups in Ancient Judaism that cultivated esoteric knowledge and transmitted it secretly? With the discovery and burgeoning study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and particularly of the documents legislating the social structure of the Qumran group, the foremost paradigm for analysis of the group's social structure has become the "sect." This is still dominant, having replacing the monastic paradigm used by some of the earliest scholars of the Scrolls. But after studying what has been written on secret societies more generally, Michael Stone has concluded that many known ancient Jewish groups-the Qumran covenanters, Josephus's and Philo's Essenes, and Philo's Therapeutae-should be viewed as societies at the heart of whose existence were esoteric knowledge and practice. Guarding and transmitting this esoteric knowledge and practice, Stone argues, provided the dynamic that motivated the social and conceptual structure of these groups. Analyzing them as secret societies, he says, enables us to see previously latent social structural dimensions, and provides many new enriching insights into the groups, including the Dead Sea covenanters. By examining historical and literary sources, Stone uncovers evidence for the existence of other secret groups in ancient Jewish society. This line of study leads Stone not only to consider the "classical" Jewish apocalypses as pseudo-esoteric, but also to discern in them the footsteps of hidden, truly esoteric traditions cultivated in the circles that produced the apocalypses. This discovery has significant implications, especially considering the enormous growth of study of the apocalyptic in the Judaism of the Second Temple period and in nascent Christianity over the last seventy years.
Posted in Religion

Jefferson's Demons

Portrait of a Restless Mind

Author: Michael Knox Beran

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781439138151

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 288

View: 6329

"I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended." -- Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson suffered during his life from periodic bouts of dejection and despair, shadowed intervals during which he was full of "gloomy forebodings" about what lay ahead. Not long before he composed the Declaration of Independence, the young Jefferson lay for six weeks in idleness and ill health at Monticello, paralyzed by a mysterious "malady." Similar lapses were to recur during anxious periods in his life, often accompanied by violent headaches. In Jefferson's Demons, Michael Knox Beran illuminates an optimistic man's darker side -- Jefferson as we have rarely seen him before. The worst of these moments came after his wife died in 1782. But two years later, after being dispatched to Europe, Jefferson recovered nerve and spirit in the salons of Paris, where he fell in love with a beautiful young artist, Maria Cosway. When their affair ended, Jefferson's health again broke down. He set out for the palms and temples of southern Europe, and though he did not know where the therapeutic journey would take him or where it would end, his encounter with the old civilizations of the Mediterranean was transformative. The Greeks and Romans taught him that a man could make productive use of his demons. Jefferson's immersion in the mystic truths of the Old World gave him insights into mysteries of life and art that Enlightenment philosophy had failed to supply. Beran skillfully shows how Jefferson drew on the esoteric lore he encountered to transform anxiety into action. On his return to America, Jefferson entered the most productive period of his life: He created a new political party, was elected president, and doubled the size of the country. His private labors were no less momentous...among them, the artistry of Monticello and the University of Virginia. Jefferson's Demons is an elegantly composed account of the strangeness and originality of one Founder's genius. Michael Knox Beran uncovers the maps Jefferson used to find his way out of dejection and to forge a new democratic culture for America. Here is a Jefferson who, with all his failings, remains one of his country's greatest teachers and prophets.
Posted in Biography & Autobiography

Homo Necans

The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520058750

Category: History

Page: 334

View: 4388

"A milestone, not only in the field of classics but in the wider field of the history of religion. . . . It will find a place alongside the works of Jane Ellen Harrison, Sir James George Frazer, Claude Levi-Strauss, and van Gennep."--Wendy Flaherty, Divinity School, University of Chicago "This book is a professional classic, an absolute must for any serious student of Greek religion."--Albert Henrichs, Harvard University
Posted in History

Greek Philosophy and Mystery Cults

Author: María José García Blanco,María José Martín-Velasco

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 1443889598

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 260

View: 4713

The contributions to this book offer a broad vision of the relationships that were established between Greek Philosophy and the Mystery Cults. The authors centre their attention on such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoic and the Neoplatonist philosophers, who used – and in some cases criticised – doctrinal elements from Mystery Cults, adapting them to their own thinking. Thus, the volume provides a new approach to some of the most renowned Greek philosophers, highlighting the influence that Mystery Cults, such as Orphism, Dionysianism, or the Eleusinian rites, had on the formation of fundamental aspects of their thinking. Given its interdisciplinary character, this book will appeal to a broad academic readership interested in the origin of Hellenic thinking and culture. It will be especially useful for those eager for a deeper approach to two fundamental domains that attract the attention of many Antiquity scholars: Greek philosophy and religion.
Posted in Literary Criticism


An Empire's Story

Author: Greg Woolf

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199972176

Category: History

Page: 384

View: 9442

The very idea of empire was created in ancient Rome and even today traces of its monuments, literature, and institutions can be found across Europe, the Near East, and North Africa--and sometimes even further afield. In Rome, historian Greg Woolf expertly recounts how this mammoth empire was created, how it was sustained in crisis, and how it shaped the world of its rulers and subjects--a story spanning a millennium and a half of history. The personalities and events of Roman history have become part of the West's cultural lexicon, and Woolf provides brilliant retellings of each of these, from the war with Carthage to Octavian's victory over Cleopatra, from the height of territorial expansion under the emperors Trajan and Hadrian to the founding of Constantinople and the barbarian invasions which resulted in Rome's ultimate collapse. Throughout, Woolf carefully considers the conditions that made Rome's success possible and so durable, covering topics as diverse as ecology, slavery, and religion. Woolf also compares Rome to other ancient empires and to its many later imitators, bringing into vivid relief the Empire's most distinctive and enduring features. As Woolf demonstrates, nobody ever planned to create a state that would last more than a millennium and a half, yet Rome was able, in the end, to survive barbarian migrations, economic collapse and even the conflicts between a series of world religions that had grown up within its borders, in the process generating an image and a myth of empire that is apparently indestructible. Based on new research and compellingly told, this sweeping account promises to eclipse all previously published histories of the empire.
Posted in History

Isis in the Ancient World

Author: R. E. Witt

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801856426

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 8321

"A pioneering book by an author who knows how to use archaeological as well as literary evidence. It is an important contribution to an understanding of the religious attitudes of ordinary men and women who lived under the rule of the Caesars." -- Times Literary Supplement
Posted in History

Creation of the Sacred

Tracks of Biology in Early Religions

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674175709

Category: Religion

Page: 255

View: 8480

Sacrifice is essential to all religions. Could there be a natural, even biological, reason? Why are sacrifice and numerous other religious rituals and concepts shared by so many different cultures? In this extraordinary book, one of the world's leading authorities on ancient religions explores the possibility of natural religion.
Posted in Religion

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Author: Robert Parker

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199274835

Category: History

Page: 544

View: 8942

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

Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis

Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674014893

Category: Social Science

Page: 178

View: 697

At the distant beginning of Western civilization, according to European tradition, Greece stands as an insular, isolated, near-miracle of burgeoning culture. This book traverses the ancient world's three great centers of cultural exchange--Babylonian Nineveh, Egyptian Memphis, and Iranian Persepolis--to situate classical Greece in its proper historical place, at the Western margin of a more comprehensive Near Eastern-Aegean cultural community that emerged in the Bronze Age and expanded westward in the first millennium B.C. In concise and inviting fashion, Walter Burkert lays out the essential evidence for this ongoing reinterpretation of Greek culture. In particular, he points to the critical role of the development of writing in the ancient Near East, from the achievement of cuneiform in the Bronze Age to the rise of the alphabet after 1000 B.C. From the invention and diffusion of alphabetic writing, a series of cultural encounters between "Oriental" and Greek followed. Burkert details how the Assyrian influences of Phoenician and Anatolian intermediaries, the emerging fascination with Egypt, and the Persian conquests in Ionia make themselves felt in the poetry of Homer and his gods, in the mythic foundations of Greek cults, and in the first steps toward philosophy. A journey through the fluid borderlines of the Near East and Europe, with new and shifting perspectives on the cultural exchanges these produced, this book offers a clear view of the multicultural field upon which the Greek heritage that formed Western civilization first appeared.
Posted in Social Science

Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism

Author: Walter Burkert

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674539181

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 535

View: 2067

For the first English edition of his distinguished study, Weisheit und Wissenschaft: Studien zu Pythagoras, Philoloas und Platon, Mr. Burkert has extensively revised both text and notes, taking into account additional literature that has appeared since 1962.
Posted in Literary Criticism

Masks of Dionysus

Author: Thomas H. Carpenter,Christopher A. Faraone

Publisher: N.A


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 344

View: 559

Posted in Literary Criticism

Magic in the Ancient World

Author: Fritz Graf

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674541535

Category: History

Page: 313

View: 3360

Ancient Greeks and Romans often turned to magic to achieve personal goals. Magical rites were seen as a route for direct access to the gods, for material gains as well as spiritual satisfaction. In this fascinating survey of magical beliefs and practices from the sixth century B.C.E. through late antiquity, Fritz Graf sheds new light on ancient religion. Evidence of widespread belief in the efficacy of magic is pervasive: the contemporaries of Plato and Aristotle placed voodoo dolls on graves in order to harm business rivals or attract lovers. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law forbids the magical transference of crops from one field to another. Graves, wells, and springs throughout the Mediterranean have yielded vast numbers of Greek and Latin curse tablets. And ancient literature abounds with scenes of magic, from necromancy to love spells. Graf explores the important types of magic in Greco-Roman antiquity, describing rites and explaining the theory behind them. And he characterizes the ancient magician: his training and initiation, social status, and presumed connections with the divine world. With trenchant analysis of underlying conceptions and vivid account of illustrative cases, Graf gives a full picture of the practice of magic and its implications. He concludes with an evaluation of the relation of magic to religion. Magic in the Ancient World offers an unusual look at ancient Greek and Roman thought and a new understanding of popular recourse to the supernatural.
Posted in History