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Religious Violence in the Ancient World
From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity


Jitse H.F. Dijkstra, Christian R. Raschle, Hans G. Kippenberg, Jan N. Bremmer, Esther Eidinow, Steve Mason, Andreas Bendlin, James B. Rives, Erika Manders, Elizabeth Depalma Digeser, Wendy Mayer, Peter Van Nuffelen, Fabrizio Vecoli, Chris L. De Wet, Christine Shepardson, Hugh Elton, Geoffrey Greatrex
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  • Date Published: March 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108816557

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About the Authors
  • Much like our world today, Late Antiquity (fourth-seventh centuries CE) is often seen as a period rife with religious violence, not least because the literary sources are full of stories of Christians attacking temples, statues and 'pagans'. However, using insights from Religious Studies, recent studies have demonstrated that the Late Antique sources disguise a much more intricate reality. The present volume builds on this recent cutting-edge scholarship on religious violence in Late Antiquity in order to come to more nuanced judgments about the nature of the violence. At the same time, the focus on Late Antiquity has taken away from the fact that the phenomenon was no less prevalent in the earlier Graeco-Roman world. This book is therefore the first to bring together scholars with expertise ranging from classical Athens to Late Antiquity to examine the phenomenon in all its complexity and diversity throughout Antiquity.

    • Adopts a nuanced and sophisticated approach to religious violence, grounded in Religious Studies
    • Considers the phenomenon in all its complexity and diversity across the whole of Antiquity
    • Contains a representative set of case studies, placing the developments of Late Antiquity in a long-term perspective while also highlighting specific local and historical factors
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108816557
    • length: 446 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.596kg
    • contains: 12 colour illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. General introduction Jitse H.F. Dijkstra and Christian R. Raschle
    I. Methodology:
    2. Sacred prefigurations of violence: Religious communities in situations of conflict Hans G. Kippenberg
    3. Priestesses, pogroms and persecutions: Religious violence in antiquity in a diachronic perspective Jan N. Bremmer
    II. Religious Violence in The Graeco-Roman world:
    4. Ancient Greek binding spells and (political) violence Esther Eidinow
    5. The expulsion of Isis worshippers and astrologers from Rome in the late republic and early empire Christian R. Raschle
    6. Religious violence? two massacres on a Sabbath in 66 CE: Jerusalem and Caesarea Steve Mason
    7. Religion, violence and the diasporic experience: The Jewish diaspora in Flavian Rome and Puteoli Andreas Bendlin
    8. Animal sacrifice and the Roman persecution of Christians (Second–Third Centuries) James B. Rives
    9. The great persecution and imperial ideology: Patterns of communication on Tetrarchic Coinage Erika Manders
    10. The violent legacy of constantine's Militant Piety Elizabeth Depalma Digeser
    III: Religious violence in late antiquity:
    11. Religious violence in late antiquity: Current approaches, trends and issues Wendy Mayer
    12. Coercion in late antiquity: A brief intellectual history Peter Van Nuffelen
    13. Crowd Behaviour and the Destruction of the Serapeum at Alexandria in 391/392 CE Jitse H.F. Dijkstra
    14. Violence and Monks: From a Mystical Concept to an Intolerant Practice (Fourth–Fifth Centuries) Fabrizio Vecoli
    15. The discipline of domination: Asceticism, violence and monastic curses in Theodoret's Historia Religiosa Chris L. De Wet
    16. Suffering saints: Shaping narratives of violence after chalcedon Christine Shepardson
    17. Fighting for Chalcedon: Vitalian's rebellion against Anastasius Hugh Elton
    18. The Emperor, the people and urban violence in the fifth and sixth centuries Geoffrey Greatrex.

  • Editors

    Jitse H. F. Dijkstra, University of Ottawa
    JITSE H.F. DIJKSTRA is Professor of Classics at the University of Ottawa. His research centres on the process of religious transformation in Late Antiquity, in particular in its Egyptian context. He is the author of numerous studies on the subject, including the monograph Philae and the End of Ancient Egyptian Religion. A Regional Study of Religious Transformation (298–642 CE) (2008).

    Christian R. Raschle, Université de Montréal
    CHRISTIAN R. RASCHLE is Associate Professor of Roman History at the Université de Montréal. He specializes in the history of the administration and political system of the Roman Empire, especially the reorganization of its provinces in Late Antiquity, and themes in the cultural history of the first century CE (Lucan).


    Jitse H.F. Dijkstra, Christian R. Raschle, Hans G. Kippenberg, Jan N. Bremmer, Esther Eidinow, Steve Mason, Andreas Bendlin, James B. Rives, Erika Manders, Elizabeth Depalma Digeser, Wendy Mayer, Peter Van Nuffelen, Fabrizio Vecoli, Chris L. De Wet, Christine Shepardson, Hugh Elton, Geoffrey Greatrex

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