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Gods, Objects, and Ritual Practice

Edited by Sandra Blakely


Conversations about materiality have helped forge a common meeting ground for scholars seeking to integrate images, sites, texts and implements in their approach to religion in the ancient Mediterranean. The thirteen chapters in this volume explore the productivity of these approaches, with case studies from Israel, Athens, Rome, Sicily and North Africa. The results foreground the capacity of material approaches to cast light on the cultural creation of the sacred through the integration of rhetorical, material, and iconographic means. They open more nuanced pathways to the uses of text in the study of material evidence. They highlight the potential for material objects to bring political and ethnic boundaries into the sacred realm. And they emphasize the role of ongoing interpretation, debate, and multiple readings in the creation of the sacred, in both ancient contexts and scholarly discussion.

Gods, Objects, and Ritual Practice

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  • More info

    SAMR vol. 1

    350 pages

    6 x 9 inches

    ISBN 978-1-937040-79-6 (paperback)

    ISBN 978-1-937040-80-2 (PDF)

    July 2017

  • Table of Contents




    1 Introduction: Object, Image, and Text: Materiality and Ritual Practice 
in the Ancient Mediterranean
 Sandra Blakely


    Section 1. From Image to Context: Iconography and Polysemnity


    2 Divine Twins or Saintly Twins: The Dioscuri in an Early Christian Context Annewies van den Hoek

    3 Altars, Astragaloi, Achilles: Picturing Divination on Athenian Vases Sheramy D. Bundrick

    4 Incarnating the Aurea Aetas: Theomorphic Rhetoric and the Portraits of Nero Eric R. Varner


    Section 2. Reading the Gods: Texts and Gifts


    5 No More Than One Candle, Torch, or Wreath: Private Citizens and
 the Commemoration of L. Caesar at Pisa 
J. Bert Lott

    6 The Cadence of the Language of Magic in Greek Curse Tablets and First Corinthians Jill E. Marshall

    7 Sacred Objects, Material Value, and Invective in Cicero’s Verrines II 4 Isabel Köster


    Section 3. Implements and Images


    8 Local Production and Domestic Ritual Use of Small Rectangular
Incense Altars: A Petrographic Provenience Analysis and
Examination of Craftsmanship of the Tell Halif Incense Altars 
Seung Ho Bang, Oded Borowski, Kook Young Yoon, Yuval Goren

    9 Judaean Pillar Figurines and the Making of Female Piety in Ancient Israelite Religion Erin Darby

    10 Priestesses in Action: Ritual Instruments Employed by Roman Women Meghan J. DiLuzio

    11 Rhetoric, Repetition, and Identity in the Frieze of Sacred Objects on the Temple of Divus Vespasian and Divus Titus 
Susan Ludi Blevins


    Section 4. Sites and Structures: Gods, Men, and Cultural Identities


    12 Channeling Identity: The Fountain of Glauke in Corinth and Jacob’s Well in John 4 Eric Moore

    13 “In This Holy Place”: Incubation at Hot Springs in Roman and Late Antique Palestine Megan S. Nutzman

    14 Gods, Graves, and Extratextual Rituals in Archaic Colonial Sicily Lela M. Urquhart


    Subject Index

    Ancient Sources Index

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