Theorizing Religion in Antiquity
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This volume brings theoretical and methodological discussions from religious studies, ancient history, and classics to the study of ancient religions, thus attempting to bridge a disciplinary chasm often apparent in the study of religions in antiquity. It examines theoretical discourses on the specificity, origin, and function of ‘religion’ in antiquity, broadly defined here as the period from the 6th century BCE to the 4th century CE. In addition, it explores the crucial question of what is meant by the term ‘religion’ and its applicability when employed to describe traditions that antedate the historical periods known as the Enlightenment and the Reformation. Theorizing about religion is often seen as an accomplishment of modernity, neglecting the insights stemming from the ‘pre-modern’ period. The contributors to this volume offer detailed discussions and links between how the ancients theorized about their religions and how modern scholars discuss about such discourses in their academic environments.
Published: May 13, 2019
Theorizing “Religion” in Antiquity is a formidable accomplishment, bringing
together scholars from various disciplines, convincing them to reflect on their usage
of concepts like “religion,” and applying a self-critical perspective throughout. One
critical remark, here hardly at the right place, is that I hope that “theorizing” ancient
religion will come to involve more than the current definition-and-applicability-debate.
For now, this volume models the type of conversations we should be having within the
study of ancient religion(s)—and beyond. As such, it is highly recommended.
Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses
This volume raises a great many important and substantial questions regarding the nature of our evidence for ‘religion’, the character of our critical language, and the scope of divides in humanistic disciplines dedicated to the study of ancient religions. It is clear that we need to talk more to each other. We might as well start by listening carefully to what this insightful, irritating, intelligent and genuinely path-breaking and bridge-building volume has to say.
Greece & Rome
This book is important for its theoretical scope and the various perspectives it offers on the topic of ‘religion’ in antiquity. It is a multi‐authored volume susceptible to irritate readers looking for coherent conclusions, but it will excite researchers who have wondered about the vast possibilities to explore both from classics/ancient history and from religious studies scholars.
Theorizing ‘Religion’ in Antiquity is extremely rich in the analysis it offers and the topics it presents. It moves beyond the artificial divide of classics, ancient history, and religious studies.
Reviews in Religion and Theology
[We] conclude that the publication is highly recommended for those who seek to delve into the complex study of “religion”, especially for those researchers whose work focuses on the religiosities of the ancient world.
The volume is important in embodying the interdisciplinarity, fault lines of disagreement and difference, and distinctive methods with which scholars come to “religion” in (only) Western antiquity. In this regard, this volume is at least a should-read for students of ancient religion.