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Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press Reference Library)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners journeying from place to place peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World, the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective.

At once sweeping in scope and groundbreaking in format, the Guide eschews the usual encyclopedic approach, instead presenting, side by side, materials from ten cultures and traditions. Thus specific beliefs, cults, gods, and ritual practices that arose and developed in Mediterranean religions--of Egypt, Anatolia and the Near East, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece, and the Roman world, from the third millennium to the fourth century C.E.--are interpreted in comparison with one another, and with reference to aspects that crisscross cultural boundaries, such as Cosmology, Myth, Law and Ethics, and Magic. Written by leading scholars of ancient religion, the essays in this guide sketch the various religious histories, raise central theoretical issues, and examine individual topics such as Sacred Times and Spaces; Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses; Sin, Pollution, and Purity; Death, the Afterlife, and Other Last Things; Divination and Prophecy; Deities and Demons; and Sacred Texts and Canonicity.

Clearly and stylishly written, grandly illustrated, this comprehensive work welcomes readers as never before into the diversity and interconnections of religion in the ancient world.

Synopsis:

Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World, the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective.

About the Author

Sarah Iles Johnston is Professor of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University.

Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Introduction
Sarah Iles Johnston

Note on Translation and Transliteration

Abbreviations

Maps

ENCOUNTERING ANCIENT RELIGIONS

What Is Ancient Mediterranean Religion?
Fritz Graf

Monotheism and Polytheism
Jan Assmann

Ritual
Jan Bremmer

Myth
Fritz Graf

Cosmology: Time and History
John J. Collins

Pollution, Sin, Atonement, Salvation
Harold W. Attridge

Law and Ethics
Eckart Otto

Mysteries
Sarah Iles Johnston

Religions in Contact
John Scheid

Writing and Religion
Mary Beard

Magic
Sarah Iles Johnston

HISTORIES

Egypt
Jan Assmann and David Frankfurter

Mesopotamia
Paul-Alain Beaulieu

Syria and Canaan
David P. Wright

Israel
John J. Collins

Anatolia: Hittites
David P. Wright

Iran
William Malandra and Michael Stausberg

Minoan and Mycenaean Civilizations
Nanno Marinatos

Greece
Jon Mikalson

Etruria
Olivier de Cazanove

Rome
John North

Early Christianity
Harold Attridge

KEY TOPICS

Sacred Times and Spaces

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Dictionary of Religious Festivals

Religious Personnel

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Religious Organizations and Bodies

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Sacrifice, Offerings, and Votives

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Divination and Prophecy
Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Deities and Demons

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece and Rome

Etruria

Christianity

Dictionary of Deities and Demons

Religious Practices of the Individual and Family

Introduction

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Rites of Passage

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Illnesses and Other Crises

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece and Rome

Etruria

Christianity

Death, the Afterlife, and Other Last Things

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Sin, Pollution, and Purity

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Ethics and Law Codes

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Theology, Theodicy, Philosophy

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece and Rome

Christianity

Religion and Politics

Introduction

Egypt

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Controlling Religion

Introduction

Egypt

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Rome

Christianity

Myth and Sacred Narratives

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece and Rome

Etruria

Christianity

Visual Representations

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Syria-Canaan

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece, Rome, and Etruria

Christianity

Sacred Texts and Canonicity

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Israel

Anatolia

Iran

Greece

Etruria

Rome

Christianity

Esotericism and Mysticism

Introduction

Egypt

Mesopotamia

Israel

Manicheism

Theurgy

Hermeticism

Gnosticism

Epilogue
Bruce Lincoln

Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Contributors

Index

Color plates follow p. 172

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674015173
Editor:
Johnston, Sarah Iles
Publisher:
Belknap Press
Editor:
Johnston, Sarah Iles
Edited:
Johnston, Sarah Iles
Author:
Johnston, Sarah Iles
Author:
Ms. Sarah Iles Johnston
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
Comparative Religion
Subject:
History
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Ancient - General
Subject:
Mediterranean region
Subject:
Mediterranean Region Religion.
Subject:
Religion Comparative-General
Subject:
Religion : Comparative Religion
Subject:
Religion : History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
Harvard University Press Reference Library
Series Volume:
18
Publication Date:
November 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
21 color illustrations, 100 halftones, 2
Pages:
736
Dimensions:
10 x 8 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Womens Health
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » General and Comparative Religion

Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press Reference Library) New Hardcover
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Product details 736 pages Belknap Press - English 9780674015173 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World, the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective.
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