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Theologies of Ancient Greek Religion


Part of Cambridge Classical Studies

Esther Eidinow, Julia Kindt, Robin Osborne, Shaul Tor, Barbara Graziosi, Renaud Gagné, Eric Csapo, Simon Goldhill, Hannah Willey, Milette Gaifman, Gunther Martin, Rick Benitez, George Boys-Stones, Peter Van Nuffelen
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  • Date Published: January 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316607503

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About the Authors
  • Studied for many years by scholars with Christianising assumptions, Greek religion has often been said to be quite unlike Christianity: a matter of particular actions (orthopraxy), rather than particular beliefs (orthodoxies). This volume dares to think that, both in and through religious practices and in and through religious thought and literature, the ancient Greeks engaged in a sustained conversation about the nature of the gods and how to represent and worship them. It excavates the attitudes towards the gods implicit in cult practice and analyses the beliefs about the gods embedded in such diverse texts and contexts as comedy, tragedy, rhetoric, philosophy, ancient Greek blood sacrifice, myth and other forms of storytelling. The result is a richer picture of the supernatural in ancient Greece, and a whole series of fresh questions about how views of and relations to the gods changed over time.

    • Constitutes the first prolonged attempt to understand the theology implicit in Greek literary texts and Greek religious actions
    • Treats both the implicit theology of cult practice and instructions/stories about cult practice, and the explicit theology of the philosophers
    • Gives a new basis for thinking about continuity and change in Greek religion
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the volume as a whole reads very well and clear efforts have been made to cross-reference between contributions while the individual contributions strike a nice balance between discussions of more familiar and unfamiliar subject-matter. … Anyone interested in (teaching) Greek religion should consult this book, which has something for everyone.' Gary Vos, Classics For All

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316607503
    • length: 441 pages
    • dimensions: 215 x 140 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: what might we mean by the theologies of ancient Greek religion? Esther Eidinow, Julia Kindt, Robin Osborne and Shaul Tor
    2. The story of theology and the theology of the story Julia Kindt
    3. Theologies of the family in Homer and Hesiod Barbara Graziosi
    4. Who's afraid of Cypselos? Contested theologies and dynastic dedications Renaud Gagné
    5. Heraclitus on Apollo's language and his own: contemplating oracles and philosophical enquiry Shaul Tor
    6. The 'theology' of the Dionysia and Old Comedy Eric Csapo
    7. Polytheism and tragedy Simon Goldhill
    8. Gods and men in ancient Greek conceptions of lawgiving Hannah Willey
    9. Popular theology: the gift of divine envy Esther Eidinow
    10. Sacrificial theologies Robin Osborne
    11. Theologies of statues Milette Gaifman
    12. The gods in the Athenian Assembly Gunther Martin
    13. Plato and the secularisation of Greek theology Rick Benitez
    14. Philosophy as religion and the meaning of 'providence' in Middle Platonism George Boys-Stones
    15. Narratives of continuity and discontinuity Peter Van Nuffelen.

  • Editors

    Esther Eidinow, University of Nottingham
    Esther Eidinow is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek History at the University of Nottingham. She has a particular interest in ancient Greek religion and magic. Her publications include Oracles, Curses, and Risk Among the Ancient Greeks (2007, revised edition 2013), Luck, Fate and Fortune: Antiquity and its Legacy (2011) and Envy, Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Ancient Athens (2015). She has co-edited (with Julia Kindt) The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion (2015).

    Julia Kindt, University of Sydney
    Julia Kindt is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. Her publications include Rethinking Greek Religion (Cambridge, 2012) and Revisiting Delphi: Religion and Storytelling in Ancient Greece (Cambridge, 2016). She has also co-edited (with Esther Eidinow) The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion (2015). She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Ancient History and a senior editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Religion.

    Robin Osborne, University of Cambridge
    Robin Osborne is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and of the British Academy. His work ranges widely over Greek history, archaeology and art history. His most recent books are Athens and Athenian Democracy (Cambridge, 2010), The History Written on the Classical Greek Body (Cambridge, 2011) and Greek History: The Basics (2014).


    Esther Eidinow, Julia Kindt, Robin Osborne, Shaul Tor, Barbara Graziosi, Renaud Gagné, Eric Csapo, Simon Goldhill, Hannah Willey, Milette Gaifman, Gunther Martin, Rick Benitez, George Boys-Stones, Peter Van Nuffelen

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