Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice

Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice

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This is an unprecedented collection of nearly seventy Late Antique primary religious texts. These texts--all in new English translation and many appearing in English for the first time--represent every major religious current from the late first century until the rise of Islam. Produced through the efforts of thirty-six leading scholars in the field, they constitute a comprehensive view of religious practice in Late Antiquity. Religious life and performance during this period comprised diverse, often unusual practices. Philosophical ascent, magic, legal pronouncement, hymnography, dietary and sexual restriction, and rhetoric were all part of this deeply fascinating world. Religious and political identity often intertwined, as reflected in the Roman persecution of Christians. And a fluid boundary between religion and superstition was contested in daily life. Many practices, including ascetic training, crossed religious boundaries. Others, such as "incubation" at specific temples and certain divination rites, were distinctive practices of individual groups and orders. Intrinsically interesting, the practice of religion in the Late Antique also edifies modern-day religious life. As this volume shows, the origins of the contemporary Western religious terrain can be gleaned in this period. Rabbinic Judaism flourished and spread. Christianity developed still-important theological categories and structures. And even movements that did not survive intact--such as Neoplatonism and the once-powerful Manichaean churches--continue to influence religion today. This rich sourcebook includes discussions of asceticism, religious organization, ritual, martyrdom, religion's social implications, law, and theology. Its unique emphasis on practice and its inclusion of texts translated from lesser-known languages advance the study of religious history in several directions. A strong interdisciplinary orientation will reward scholars and students of religion, theology, gender studies, classical literatures, and history. Each text is accompanied by an introduction and a bibliography for further reading and research, making the book appropriate for use in any university or seminary more

Product details

  • Paperback | 527 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 27.94mm | 725.74g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0691057516
  • 9780691057514
  • 690,296

Review quote

"The selection of texts is judicious and the translations are lively; those teaching late antique religions will find this anthology nearly indispensable."--Choiceshow more

About Richard Valantasis

Richard Valantasis is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He is the author The Gospel of Thomas and coeditor of more

Back cover copy

"This collection will surely prove to be a gold mine for those of us who teach the religions of late antiquity. It provides a lively and kaleidoscopic view of an entire era of religious activity and development. It will also be a tool for scholars. . . .The emphasis on practice is a completely new feature in a collection of this kind; there is simply nothing like it."--Patricia Cox Miller, author of Dreams in Late Antiquityshow more

Table of contents

Princeton Readings in Religions vii Conventions ix Contributors xv Introduction - Richard Valantasis 3 Inventing the Individual: Biography 1. The First Sahidic Life of Pachomius - James E. Goehring 19 2. Philostratus of Athens, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Megan H. Williams 34 3. Porphyry, On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books - Richard Valantasis 50 Refashioning the Person: Asceticism 4. Evagrius Ponticus on Prayer and Anger - Columba Stewart OSB 65 5. Pseudo-Athanasius, Discourse on Salvation to a Virgin - Teresa M. Shaw 82 6. Basil of Caesarea, The "Prooemium" of the Regulaefusius tractatae - Lawrence J. Altepeter 100 7. Sermons of Columbanus - Arthur G. Holder 109 8. Manichaean Asceticism - Jason David BeDuhn 122 Founding Religious Movements: Organizations - 9. Talmudic Texts and Jewish Social Life - Daniel Boyarin 133 10. Julian "the Apostate," Against the Galileans - Elizabeth Geraldine Burr 143 11. A Thriving Native Cult in the Fifth Century and Its Demise under Coptic Monks - David Frankfurter 156 12. The Cologne Mani Codex - Ellen Bradshaw Aitken 161 13. Tales of Holy Fools - Derek Krueger 177 Locating Religion in Society: Community 14. Vision for the City: Nisibis in Ephrem's Hymns on Nicomedia - David Bundy 189 15. Acts of Thomas: Scene One - David G. Hunter 207 16. An Anonymous Letter to a Woman Named Susanna - Maureen A. Tilley 218 17. A Plea to a Local God for a Husband's Attentions - David Frankfurter 230 18. Bishop Avitus of Vienne to His Excellency Ansmundus - Maureen A. Tilley 232 19. Chrysostom's Catecheses: A Hermeneutic of Social Institutions - Arthur B. Shippee 235 20. John Chrysostom, Sermons on City Life - Blake Leyerle 247 Regulating Religious Expression: Law 21. Laws on Religion from the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes - Matthew C. Mirow and Kathleen A. Kelley 263 22. The Acts of the Council of Aquileia (381 C.E.) - Kenneth B. Steinhauser 275 23. Canons of the Council in Trullo (692 C.E.) - James C. Skedros 289 Creating Religious Ceremonial: Ritual 24. The Mithras Liturgy and Sepher Ha-Razim - Kimberly B. Stratton 303 25. Manichaean Ritual - Jason David BeDuhn 316 26. The Seal of the Merkavah - Michael D. Swartz 322 27. Anonymous Spanish Correspondence; or the Letter of the "She-ass" - Virginia Burrus and Tracy Keefer 330 28. Amuletic Invocations of Christ for Health and Fortune - David Frankfurter 340 Singing Divine Praises: Hymnody 29. The Hymns of Ambrose - Carl P. E. Springer 347 30. Hymns to Mary, the Mother of God, the Theotokos - Vasiliki Limberis 357 31. Manichaean Hymnody - Jason David BeDuhn 364 32. An Isis Aretalogy from Kyme in Asia Minor, First Century B.C.E. - Gail Corrington Streete 369 Sacrificing Self to God: Martyrology 33. The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity - Maureen A. Tilley 387 34. The Martyrs of Lyons - Frederick W. Weidmann 398 35. The Martyrdom of Habbib the Deacon - Robert Doran 413 36. 4 Maccabees - Clayton N. Jefford 424 Enlivening Thought: Philosophy and Theology 37. Gregory Nazianzen, Homily on the Nativity of Christ - Nonna Verna Harrison 443 38. Texts on Iconoclasm: John of Damascus and the Council of Hiereia - David Vila 454 39. Asterius of Amasea Ekphrasis on the Holy Martyr Euphernia - Elizabeth A. Castelli 464 40. Christian Oracle Shrines - David Frankfurter 469 41. Popular Religious Practices in Fifth-Century Egypt - David Frankfurter 473 42. The Zenith and Destruction of a Native Egyptian Oracle in 359 C.E. - David Frankfurter 476 43. Manichaean Theology - Jason David BeDuhn 481 44. lamblichus, de Mysteriis, Book 1, The de Mysteriis Peter T. Struck 489 Index 507show more

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