Parker, Robert

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Polytheism and Society at Athens


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ISBN: 9780191534522
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Probably more is known about the religious life of Athens than of any other ancient city. This book attempts for the first time to give a comprehensive account of that religion from every angle - public festivals are there, including the Eleusinian Mysteries, but so are private rites and magic, and the treatment of religion by the great playwrights of Athens. The Athenians emerge as both very pious and very down-to-earth. - ;This book is the first attempt that has ever been made to give a comprehensive account of the religious life of ancient Athens. The city's many festivals are discussed in detail, with attention to recent anthropological theory; so too, for instance, are the cults of households and of smaller groups, the role of religious practice and argumentation in public life, the authority of priests, the activities of religious professionals such as seers and priestesses, magic, the place of
theatrical representations of the gods within public attitudes to the divine. A long final section considers the sphere of activity of the various gods, and takes Athens as a uniquely detailed test case for the structuralist approach to polytheism. The work is a synchronic, thematically organized
complement (though designed to be read independently) to the same author's Athenian Religion: A History (Oxford 1996). - ;...[this book] points the way to future developments in the study of both Athenian and Greek religion...an important contribution which certainly deserves its 2005 Criticos Award. - Julia L. Shear, Journal of Hellenic Studies;No other book takes such a holistic approach to Greek religious practice and experience, or deals with the acute historical and theoretical complexities in such a jargon-free and attractive manner. - Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph;...one of the best books I have read on ancient religion and one of the most useful. - London Review of Books, Vol. 29;Parker's lively style makes this substantial and detailed book highly readable. - John Taylor, The Anglo-Hellenic Review, Vol. 35;...of considerable interest to anyone who teaches Greek religion at any level since [Parker] writes with great clarity and maintains a focus on the main issues...this comprehensive survey of a city's religious activities would be a valuable addition to your library. - Journal of Classics Teaching, Issue 12

Keywords: RELIGION / General REL000000

Oxford University Press
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