Essays On Religion And The Ancient World

Essays On Religion And The Ancient World-76
167-180), and demonstrating the immense value of precise archaeological work in illuminating local and regional variations in religious practice.For me, the emphasis on the multiple senses as part of ancient religious life is welcome. 144-154) is entitled 'watching ritual', she rightly argues that watching cannot be separated from other sensory experiences of ritual – hearing/listening, smelling, touching and tasting – although she falls into the trap of judging the quality of smells. This may be the case for much ancient religious experience, but nevertheless this section would have benefited from discussion of truly 'wild' religious spaces, beyond the built or controlled environments of humans – mountaintop altars, the sea, or naturally numinous places such as the Cennet ve Cehennem (Heaven and Hell) sinkholes in Cilicia.

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For Stavrianopoulou, processions should be understood as communicative events that perform social institutions as well as mediate them, whether these are military triumphs or funerary journeys.

Through their performance, processions constitute space and its limits; through their staging, processions create intense physical and emotional experiences which gave them meaning and generated social memory (both for actors and audience); and through this interplay between actor and audience, a community supportive of the ritual itself is formed.

Preview[The Table of Contents is listed below.][Disclaimer: Anna Collar works as part of Troels Myrup Kristensen's 'Emergence of Sacred Travel' project in the same department as Rubina Raja.] It is clear from their introduction what the editors set out to achieve in this collection of 35 essays: in line with their research agenda at Erfurt, "Lived Ancient Religion", their aim is to overturn the traditional bias towards the systematic and the dogmatic in the treatment of religion in antiquity, and focus instead on the material evidence that shaped the 'practices, expressions, and interactions' (p.4, p.

446) of religion as people experienced it in the past.

41-59), in which he delivers a taxonomy of ritual activities.

He acknowledges both the reductionism inherent in such a process and the flexible nature of the categories of data (p.Material symbols play a central role in communion-based ritual experiences, enabling the community to continue to exist in memory and imagination after the ritual has passed.Part XI, Transformations, widens the geographical scope to include temperate Europe and Roman North Africa. 465-477) outlines the problems encountered in linking the ritual practices of temperate Europe (500 BCE-500 CE) as witnessed archaeologically with the textual accounts written by biased Roman or later Christian outsiders, going on to deliver an archaeological account of some elements of the ritual and cosmology of the northern Europeans.The first two look at physical embodiment, as demonstrated through the personal use of amulets and the wearing of ancient religious dress; the second two at more ephemeral aspects – dance, and the lived, internal interplay between gender and religious experience. 107-119) on dance and its accompanying music, an almost completely lost element of religious embodiment, encourages us to be satisfied that indirect evidence for performance space, the accoutrements of dancers and representations of dance add up to only a general understanding of the importance of the kinetic and acoustic elements of ancient religion.Although we have no insight into 'specific kinetic language in a specific cultic context' (p.It is frustrating that, after a strong opening to the introduction, the editors cut and paste sections of the papers rather than offering a coherent analysis of their content.That said, I found much of the book compelling and the quality of the essays generally excellent: there is, of course, not space enough for details, so I will go through the thematic sections, looking at the papers that prompt further reflection.She argues that these categories could then be used in other cultural situations to predict what kinds of religious information might be retrievable in a given context, and as an interpretive method where provenance is unknown.Such differentiations between what was appropriate for 'public' or 'private' has been often used to categorise and interpret religious life in antiquity: here Parker (pp. 72), demonstrating how there is always a public domain within religion, even if it is considered 'private' or 'domestic'.He problematises the ways that the Roman festival calendar might reveal cultural or collective memory, reminding us to acknowledge the divergent personal experiences inherent in it, and how the selective destruction/preservation of monuments was part of a renewal and reinvention process, building and updating Rome's collective civic myth through the excision or valorisation of particular religious loci, because memory only matters for so long: 'as the hold of memory in lived experience weakens, history takes over' (p. In Part VII, entitled 'Expressiveness', Schörner's broad temporal and geographical look at anatomical ex votos highlights some of the differences between practice and belief in Greece, Anatolia, Gaul and Italy and raises questions about the place of these votives within differing systems of medicine.Estienne's contribution is the most challenging, deconstructing our understanding of the lines between divine image, offering, and cult statue, and suggesting we think more deeply about how the Greeks considered idolatry, aniconism and the construction of normative identities in the ancient world.

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