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The Devil's Tabernacle: The Pagan Oracles in Early Modern Thought

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Devil's Tabernacle is the first book to examine in depth the intellectual and cultural impact of the oracles of pagan antiquity on modern European thought. Anthony Ossa-Richardson shows how the study of the oracles influenced, and was influenced by, some of the most significant developments in early modernity, such as the Christian humanist recovery of ancient religion, confessional polemics, Deist and libertine challenges to religion, antiquarianism and early archaeology, Romantic historiography, and spiritualism. Ossa-Richardson examines the different views of the oracles since the Renaissance--that they were the work of the devil, or natural causes, or the fraud of priests, or finally an organic element of ancient Greek society. The range of discussion on the subject, as he demonstrates, is considerably more complex than has been realized before: hundreds of scholars, theologians, and critics commented on the oracles, drawing on a huge variety of intellectual contexts to frame their beliefs.

In a central chapter, Ossa-Richardson interrogates the landmark dispute on the oracles between Bernard de Fontenelle and Jean-François Baltus, challenging Whiggish assumptions about the mechanics of debate on the cusp of the Enlightenment. With erudition and an eye for detail, he argues that, on both sides of the controversy, to speak of the ancient oracles in early modernity was to speak of one's own historical identity as a Christian.

Synopsis:

"Anthony Ossa-Richardson combines a sharp eye for detail with a sense of the wider significance of these details. The Devil's Tabernacle is written with clarity, grace, good judgment, and flashes of wit. It is a distinguished first book."--Peter Burke, emeritus professor of cultural history, University of Cambridge

"In this powerfully researched, cogently argued, and eloquently written book, Ossa-Richardson traces how humanist antiquarians, philosophers, theologians, and a host of others tried to understand and explain the ancient and patristic accounts of pagan oracles. He opens up rich and uncharted intellectual territories, offering a vast amount of unknown material and some sharp interventions into current historical debates. This is a terrific piece of work."--Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

"Ossa-Richardson deals with a highly interesting yet quite understudied chapter in the early modern reflection on religion in the ancient world. He shows a remarkable knowledge of the broader aspects of his topic, from the Greek oracles via medieval philosophy and theology to Renaissance and early modern thought. Ossa-Richardson writes in the vein of the best contemporary scholarship in intellectual history on early modern antiquarianism."--Guy G. Stroumsa, University of Oxford

About the Author

Anthony Ossa-Richardson is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London.

Table of Contents

List of Plates ix

Acknowledgements xi

INTRODUCTION 1

PART ONE 11

CHAPTER ONE Authorities 13

CHAPTER TWO Demons 46

PART TWO 83

CHAPTER THREE Nature 87

CHAPTER FOUR Imposture 136

PART THREE 203

CHAPTER FIVE Enlightenment? 205

CHAPTER SIX Solutions 247

CONCLUSION Les lauriers sont coupés 285

Bibliography 291

Index 327

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691157115
Author:
Ossa-richardson, Anthony
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Ossa-Richardson, Anthony
Subject:
Ancient - Greece
Subject:
Comparative Literature
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
World History/Comparative History
Subject:
Religion Comparative-Reference
Publication Date:
20130731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 line illus.
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Greek » Criticism
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » Reference

The Devil's Tabernacle: The Pagan Oracles in Early Modern Thought New Hardcover
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$44.50 In Stock
Product details 360 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691157115 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Anthony Ossa-Richardson combines a sharp eye for detail with a sense of the wider significance of these details. The Devil's Tabernacle is written with clarity, grace, good judgment, and flashes of wit. It is a distinguished first book."--Peter Burke, emeritus professor of cultural history, University of Cambridge

"In this powerfully researched, cogently argued, and eloquently written book, Ossa-Richardson traces how humanist antiquarians, philosophers, theologians, and a host of others tried to understand and explain the ancient and patristic accounts of pagan oracles. He opens up rich and uncharted intellectual territories, offering a vast amount of unknown material and some sharp interventions into current historical debates. This is a terrific piece of work."--Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

"Ossa-Richardson deals with a highly interesting yet quite understudied chapter in the early modern reflection on religion in the ancient world. He shows a remarkable knowledge of the broader aspects of his topic, from the Greek oracles via medieval philosophy and theology to Renaissance and early modern thought. Ossa-Richardson writes in the vein of the best contemporary scholarship in intellectual history on early modern antiquarianism."--Guy G. Stroumsa, University of Oxford

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