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The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity

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This volume explores different aspects of the interaction between religious authority and lived religion in Mesopotamian religion, Judaism, and Christianity, primarily in antiquity. The contributors represent a number of disciplines, resulting in a rich tapestry woven from specific case studies. The topics covered include: the level of participation of ordinary people in ancient Mesopotamian state religion and what sort of other religious experiences were open to them; strategies embedded in the five books of Moses to create and maintain group identity and cohesion in early forms of Judaism, the production and dissemination of religious knowledge within the Qumran community, the role of the synagogue in the dissemination of religious knowledge, the Thecla tradition and women's religious knowledge in early Christianity, the interaction between rabbis and other Jews in private and public spaces in late Roman Palestine, the function of material culture in the dissemination of religious knowledge in ancient Christianity, religious knowledge and models of authority in sixth-century Gaza, folk religion (minhag) as a source of rabbinic jurisprudence, the transmission of religious knowledge publicly via schools and the concurrent private use of incantation bowls in Mesopotamia in the seventh century CE, the transmission of Jewish and Christian religious knowledge into the Qur’anic milieu at Mecca and Medina, and the role of rabbinic liturgy as a Medieval educational tool.

Published: Nov 1, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
Popular Religious Knowledge in Ancient Mesopotamia
1. Access to Religious Knowledge in Ancient Babylonia Andrew George
2. Public Lamentation in Ancient Mesopotamia Sam Mirelman
Judean Communities of the Second Temple Period
3. Strategies for Disseminating Jewish Religious Knowledge in Judean Communities ca. 350-30 BCE Diana Edelman
4. The Production and Dissemination of Knowledge within the Qumran Community David Hamidovic
Rabbis and 'Popular' Judaism
5. ‘If They are Not Prophets, They Are Sons of Prophets': Folk Religion (Minhag) as a Source of Rabbinic Law Philip Alexander
6. Interaction between Rabbis and Other Jews in Private and Public Spaces in Late Roman Palestine Catherine Hezser
Liturgy and the Synagogue
7. The Role of the Synagogue in the Dissemination of Religious Knowledge: Jews and Christians in the Ancient Mediterranean World Anders Runesson
8. Medieval Jewish Prayers as Religious Education Stefan Reif
Middle Eastern Christian Communities
9. The Dissemination of Religious Knowledge through Apocrypha in Egyptian Monasteries Hugo Lundhaug
10. Public and Private Religious Practices Amongst the Christian Communities of 7th Century Mesopotamia Erica Hunter
Material Culture and Women's Religiosity
11. The Function of Material Culture in the Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Ancient Christianity Annette Weissenrieder
12. The Thecla Tradition and Women's Religious Knowledge in Early Christianity Christine Amadou
Reading, Education and Scholastic Transmission
13. Religious Knowledge and Models of Authority in Sixth-Century Gaza Jan Stenger
14. The Transmission of Religious Knowledge into the Qur’anic Milieu: Jews and Christians in Mecca and Medina Holger Zellentin