Catalogue


Religions of the ancient world : a guide /
Sarah Iles Johnston, general editor.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004.
description
xvii, 697 p., [16] p. of col. plates : ill. (some col.), maps ; 27 cm.
ISBN
0674015177 (cloth: alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004.
isbn
0674015177 (cloth: alk. paper)
catalogue key
5165448
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2005-01-01:
Johnston (Greek/Latin, Ohio State) has solicited the contributions of over 100 scholars to produce this informative but curiously organized reference work dealing specifically (despite the title) with religions of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. In her introduction, Johnston argues for the importance of a comparative approach, given the early proliferation of cross-cultural influences in the region. Thus, the heart of the volume consists of long encyclopedic articles treating a particular topic (e.g. "Myth and Sacred Narratives," "Ethics and Law Codes," or "Religious Personnel") from a synoptic, multi- faith perspective. The first section, in which 11 short essays sketchily introduce many of the same topics, and the second section, which devotes brief chapters to individual religions or regions, both seem superfluous. Bottom Line The expert contributors know their stuff but make few concessions to lay readers. The prose is highly formal, densely packed, and replete with specialized terms; and the bibliographies cite many technical and foreign language works. Still, this large, nicely illustrated book is a bargain; recommended for academic libraries.-Charles Seymour, Mabee Learning Resources Ctr., Wayland Baptist Univ., Plainview, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2005-05-01:
This book's objective is to present an overview of the diversity of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world and the ways they influenced and shaped each other. Written by some of the finest scholars of the ancient world, the studies attend to several millennia (3rd millennium BCE to the 5th century CE). Johnston provides a fascinating organizational scheme for these studies. The first section consists of essays on myth, ritual, monotheism and polytheism, mysteries, writing and religion, and magic, inquiring about change and continuity, contacts and exchanges, and commonalities underlying the ancient religions. The second provides histories of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and Canaan, Israel, Anatolia, Iran, Minoa and Mycenae, Greece, Etruria, Rome, and early Christianity, focusing on concepts, institutions, and change. The third is devoted to topics of current interest in religious studies (including sacred time and space, religious personnel and organizations, sacrifice, divination, deities and demons, death and the afterlife, sin and pollution, ethics and law codes, religion and politics, visual representations, myths and texts, and mysticism). Because of the historical and topical organization, skillful thinking and writing, and solid scholarship, libraries will find this book indispensable. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers. L. J. Alderink Concordia College
Reviews
Review Quotes
Comparative study of ancient cultures--especially ancient religious conceptions--has evolved in recent decades, and this volume meets an important desideratum in light of scholarly advances... 'Key Topics' is the most distinctive feature of the book, and one that will make this reference tool valuable for many years to come, especially when used together with the first two parts for comparative purposes...This volume contains a wealth of information.
Every once in a long while, a reference work comes along that is certain from the outset to become a well-used standard. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide is such a work, which is unsurprising given that approximately one hundred forty top scholars contributed to the articles inside. Not quite an encyclopedia, not quite a collection of essays, this unique volume is the first comprehensive and comparative reference guide to a wide array of topics in ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern religions.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, January 2005
Choice, May 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners journeying from place to place peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World , the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective. At once sweeping in scope and groundbreaking in format, the Guide eschews the usual encyclopedic approach, instead presenting, side by side, materials from ten cultures and traditions. Thus specific beliefs, cults, gods, and ritual practices that arose and developed in Mediterranean religions--of Egypt, Anatolia and the Near East, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece, and the Roman world, from the third millennium to the fourth century C.E.--are interpreted in comparison with one another, and with reference to aspects that crisscross cultural boundaries, such as Cosmology, Myth, Law and Ethics, and Magic. Written by leading scholars of ancient religion, the essays in this guide sketch the various religious histories, raise central theoretical issues, and examine individual topics such as Sacred Times and Spaces; Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses; Sin, Pollution, and Purity; Death, the Afterlife, and Other Last Things; Divination and Prophecy; Deities and Demons; and Sacred Texts and Canonicity. Clearly and stylishly written, grandly illustrated, this comprehensive work welcomes readers as never before into the diversity and interconnections of religion in the ancient world.
Main Description
Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners journeying from place to place peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. New gods encountered in foreign lands by merchants and conquerors were sometimes taken home to be adapted and adopted. A full understanding of this complex spiritual world unfolds in Religions of the Ancient World, the first basic reference work that collects and organizes available information to offer an expansive, comparative perspective. At once sweeping in scope and groundbreaking in format, the Guide eschews the usual encyclopedic approach, instead presenting, side by side, materials from ten cultures and traditions. Thus specific beliefs, cults, gods, and ritual practices that arose and developed in Mediterranean religions--of Egypt, Anatolia and the Near East, Mesopotamia, Iran, Greece, and the Roman world, from the third millennium to the fourth century C.E. --are interpreted in comparison with one another, and with reference to aspects that crisscross cultural boundaries, such as Cosmology, Myth, Law and Ethics, and Magic. Written by leading scholars of ancient religion, the essays in this guide sketch the various religious histories, raise central theoretical issues, and examine individual topics such as Sacred Times and Spaces; Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses; Sin, Pollution, and Purity; Death, the Afterlife, and Other Last Things; Divination and Prophecy; Deities and Demons; and Sacred Texts and Canonicity. Clearly and stylishly written, grandly illustrated, this comprehensive work welcomes readers as never before into the diversity and interconnections of religion in the ancient world.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Clearly and elegantly written, this comprehensive work welcomes readers as never before into the diversity and interconnections of religion in the ancient world.
Table of Contents
Introduction Sarah Iles Johnston
Note on Translation and Transliteration
Abbreviations
Maps
Encountering Ancient Religions
What Is Ancient Mediterranean Religion? Fritz Graf
Monotheism and Polytheism Jan Assmann
Ritual Jan Bremmer
Myth Fritz Graf
Cosmology: Time and History
Pollution, Sin, Atonement, Salvation
Law and Ethics Eckart Otto
Mysteries Sarah Iles Johnston
Religions in Contact
Writing and Religion Mary Beard
Magic Sarah Iles Johnston
Histories
Egypt Jan Assmann and David Frankfurter
Mesopotamia Paul-Alain Beaulieu
Syria and Canaan
Israel
Anatolia: Hittites
Iran William Malandra and Michael Stausberg
Minoan and Mycenaean Civilizations Nanno Marinatos
Greece Jon Mikalson
Etruria Olivier de Cazanove
Rome John North
Early Christianity Harold Attridge
Key Topics
Sacred Times and Spaces
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Dictionary of Religious Festivals
Religious Personnel
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Religious Organizations and Bodies
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Rome
Christianity
Sacrifice, Offerings, and Votives
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Prayers, Hymns, Incantations, and Curses
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Divination and Prophecy
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Deities and Demons
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece and Rome
Etruria
Christianity
Dictionary of Deities and Demons
Religious Practices of the Individual and Family
Introduction
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Anatolia
Iran
Greece
Etruria
Rome
Christianity
Rites of Passage
Introduction
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Syria-Canaan
Israel
Ana
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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