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Author Topic: Ritual Dynamics and Religious Change in the Roman Empire: Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire  (Read 1840 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Topic Start: February 04, 2010, 12:10:57 pm »

Title: Ritual Dynamics and Religious Change in the Roman Empire: Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire
Author(s): Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2010.01.35 Olivier Hekster, Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner, Christian Witschel (ed.)
Publisher: Brill
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 9004174818
ISBN-13: 9789004174818
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

From the Bryn Mawr Classic Review:
This volume is the proceedings of the latest in the series of workshops organized by the international network "Impact of Empire" which took place at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg in 2007. Details of this Network, including past workshops and publication information, can be found at This workshop was organized in order "to assess the impact of the Roman Empire on the processes of ritual and religious transformation that shaped the public and private lives of the subjects of Roman rule" (Preface). The volume begins with an introduction by Chaniotis, who contextualizes the discussion and presents some of the major themes which will be discussed throughout the volume: agency, transfer, emulation, and competition. The editors have divided the 17 other papers into three categories: Ritualising the Empire, Performing Civic Community in the Empire, and Performing Religion in the Empire. One should approach this volume as a collection of papers reflecting current discussions on this topic which can then promote further discussion as well as encourage the reader to draw their own connections between these specific case studies as these groupings seem somewhat arbitrary. For the purpose of this review, I have grouped papers together which seem to discuss similar themes or use similar methods.

As the title suggests, discussions in the volume are centred around religious change and how it is seen not only by the ancients but by modern scholars as well. The paper by Benoist studies the office of the pontifex maximus from the 1st-5th centuries CE and the continuity of religious authority. During the shift from pagan to Christian practices there was no substantial modification in the power of magistracies and priesthoods, neither in their content nor their formulation (p.39). The article discusses the importance of studying religious practices in Rome over time and argues that we should not describe the Christianization of the empire as a radical shift in the political, social, and religious landscape but rather as a continuation, and in some cases development, of many of the same features found throughout the Imperial period.

Read the full review at the Bryn Mawr Classic Review web site.

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Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

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