Religion in the Roman Empire

Religion in the Roman Empire

Hardback Blackwell Ancient Religions

By (author) James B. Rives

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  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 230mm x 26mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 23 June 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 1405106557
  • ISBN 13: 9781405106559
  • Illustrations note: 16
  • Sales rank: 1,726,846

Product description

This book provides an engaging, systematic introduction to religion in the Roman empire.* Covers both mainstream Graeco-Roman religion and regional religious traditions, from Egypt to Western Europe* Examines the shared assumptions and underlying dynamics that characterized religious life as a whole* Draws on a wide range of primary material, both textual and visual, from literary works, inscriptions and monuments* Offers insight into the religious world in which contemporary rabbinic Judaism and Christianity both had their origin

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Author information

James B. Rives is Kenan Eminent Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage (1995), Tacitus: Germania (1999), and has co-edited Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome (2005). He has written a number of important articles on Roman religion in the Journal of Roman Studies and Journal of Early Christian Studies, and has taught courses on Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, religions of the Roman Empire, and ruler cult in the Graeco-Roman world.

Review quote

"The section openings are often carefully and helpfully linked to preceding arguments, within and across chapters." (Journal of Religion, 2009) “Rives sketches a framework containing four largely separate approaches to the divine world: cult, myth, art, and philosophy. This framework provides a clear structure of the book in relation to both theoretical and methodological perspectives, as well as to the variety of evidence." (New England Classical Journal, May 2009) “The reader who is new to the study of Roman religion will go away greatly enriched with knowledge of specific examples of ancient religious practice and of the kinds of sources available but also with an understanding of what makes ancient religion so different from many of the religions we are familiar with in the modern world. The reader with an existing expertise in the subject will find thought provoking ideas on some of the key areas of debate and some useful clarifications on the exact nature of the issues that are at stake in them." (Classical Review, 2007) "…the book is important as an attempt to create a textbook in an area normally…left to an appendix because the problems are all too forbidding…" (Greece and Rome, Vol 55 No. 2 2008) "This is the best available introduction to religion in the Roman world, and will be indispensable for classroom use and in library collections." (Choice -- A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2007) "A dense and stimulating overview of Roman religion." (Bryn Mawr Reviews) "A concise, readable, stimulating, and adroitly organised introduction to a vast cumbersome topic." (Scholia Reviews)

Back cover copy

This book provides an engaging, systematic introduction to religion in the Roman Empire. It explores mainstream Graeco-Roman religion, as well as the diverse regional religions within the empire, from the millennia-old traditions of Egypt to the Celtic traditions of Western Europe. The author describes the distinctive features of religion in the Roman world and examines the shared assumptions and underlying dynamics that characterized religious life as a whole. By drawing on a wide range of primary material, including literary works, inscriptions, and monuments, he allows readers to engage with original sources directly and provides unique insight into the religious world in which contemporary rabbinic Judaism and Christianity both had their origins.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations. List of Maps. List of Text Boxes. Acknowledgments. Maps. Introduction. 1. Identifying 'Religion' in the Graeco-Roman Tradition. 2. Regional Religious Traditions of the Empire. 3. The Presence of the Gods. 4. Religion and Community. 5. Religion and Empire. 6. Religious Options. 7. Roman Religious Policy. Epilogue: Religious Change in the Roman Empire. Glossary of Major Deities. Glossary of Authors and Texts. References. Index