The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

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Ancient religions are usually treated as collective and political phenomena and, apart from a few towering figures, the individual religious agent has fallen out of view. Addressing this gap, the essays in this volume focus on the individual and individuality in ancient Mediterranean religion. Even in antiquity, individual religious action was not determined by traditional norms handed down through families and the larger social context, but rather options were open and choices were made. On the part of the individual, this development is reflected in changes in 'individuation', the parallel process of a gradual full integration into society and the development of self-reflection and of a notion of individual identity. These processes are analysed within the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, down to Christian-dominated late antiquity, in both pagan polytheistic as well as Jewish monotheistic settings. The volume focuses on individuation in everyday religious practices in Phoenicia, various Greek cities, and Rome, and as identified in institutional developments and philosophical reflections on the self as exemplified by the Stoic more

Product details

  • Hardback | 560 pages
  • 146 x 218 x 38mm | 819.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199674507
  • 9780199674503
  • 1,838,421

About Jörg Rüpke

Jorg Rupke is Fellow in Religious Studies at the Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt, and Director of the DFG-Research Group 'Religious Individualization in Historical Perspective'. He also an honorary Professor at Aarhus more

Review quote

"The book should have something to offer anyone interested in the religions of antiquity (especially Roman imperial times), as well as those interested in the topic of the individual and the history of individualization."-Christian H. Bull, Numen, Brillshow more

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ; 1. Introduction: Individualization as a concept for historical research ; HISTORICAL CHANGE ; 2. Individualization as an historical trend in the religion of Phoenician cities in Hellenistic times ; 3. Disguising religious change in first-century Rome ; 4. Cities, gods, and empire ; INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY ; 5. Individual and Common Cult: Epigraphical Reflections ; 6. Ritual and the individual in Roman religion ; EXPERIENCES AND CHOICES ; 7. Religious anthropology of high magical practice in the Empire ; 8. The cult of the saints in Late Antiquity as a privileged locus for religious individualization ; CONCEPTUALIZING RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE ; 9. Dimensions of Individuality in Ancient Mystery Cults: Religious Practice and Philosophical Discourse ; 10. Individualization and Religious Rhetoric in Imperial Anatolia ; AGENCY ; 11. Mark's Gospel and the Pre-History of Individuation ; 12. Text, Prophesy, and the Individual in Hellenistic Judaism: Texts from Philo and Josephus ; 13. Fighting for Difference: Forms and Limits of Religious Individualization in the "Shepherd of Hermas" ; 14. Literature as preparation for martyrdom ; MASTER AND DISCIPLE ; 15. Religio mentis: Hermetic process of individualization ; 16. The Discourse of Revelation as source for the Gnostic process of individualization ; BEYOND THE EMPIRICAL INDIVIDUAL ; 17. Cicero and Seneca on the fate of the soul: Private feelings and philosophical doctrines ; 18. The ritualization of the body in Roman Judaism: Individualization with a difference ; INDEXshow more