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This is the first history of epiphany as both a phenomenon and as a cultural discourse within the Graeco-Roman world, exploring divine manifestations and their representations, in visual terms as well as in literary, historical and epigraphic accounts. Verity Platt sets the cultural analysis of epiphany within a historical framework that explores its development from the archaic period into the Roman empire. In particular, a surprisingly large number of the images that have survived from antiquity are not only religious, but epiphanically charged. Verity Platt argues that the enduring potential for divine incursions into mortal experience provides a structure of cognitive reliability that supports both ancient religion and mythology. At the same time, Graeco-Roman culture exhibits a sophisticated awareness of the difficulties of the apprehension of deity, the representation of divine presence, and the potential for the manmade sign to lead the worshipper back to an unmediated epiphanic encounter.Read more
- The first book to address the theme of epiphany throughout the whole of classical antiquity
- Explores divine manifestations and their representations not only in art, but also in literary, historical and epigraphic accounts
- Makes a substantial new contribution to the understanding of how the divine and religion were imagined in antiquity
Reviews & endorsements
"Original and important."
The Times Literary SupplementSee more reviews
"… a stimulating, wide-ranging work that that should be of interest to all those studying the classical world; it will certainly become standard reading for anyone with an interest in Greek religion, Greek and Roman iconography, or the literary and philosophical discourses of the Second Sophistic. Elegantly written and argued."
Jenny Wallensten, Time and Mind
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- Date Published: September 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521861717
- length: 502 pages
- dimensions: 249 x 175 x 30 mm
- weight: 0.99kg
- contains: 53 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Framing epiphany in art and text
2. Material epiphany: encountering the divine in cult images
3. Epiphany and authority in Hellenistic Greece
4. The poetics of epiphany in Hellenistic epigram
5. Virtual visions: piety and paideia in Second Sophistic literature
6. Dream visions and cult images in Second Sophistic literature
7. The apologetics of representation in Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana
8. Dying to see: epiphanic sarcophagi from Imperial Rome.
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