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Book: The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity

Chapter: Introduction

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41938


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.

Chapter Contributors

  • Catherine Hezser ( - chezser) 'SOAS, University of London'