The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

ISBN : 9780199674503

Jorg Rupke
560 ページ
145 x 223 mm

Ancient religions are usually treated as collective and political phenomena and, apart from a few towering figures, the individual religious agent has fallen out of view. Addressing this gap, the essays in this volume focus on the individual and individuality in ancient Mediterranean religion. Even in antiquity, individual religious action was not determined by traditional norms handed down through families and the larger social context, but rather options were open and choices were made. On the part of the individual, this development is reflected in changes in 'individuation', the parallel process of a gradual full integration into society and the development of self-reflection and of a notion of individual identity. These processes are analysed within the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, down to Christian-dominated late antiquity, in both pagan polytheistic as well as Jewish monotheistic settings. The volume focuses on individuation in everyday religious practices in Phoenicia, various Greek cities, and Rome, and as identified in institutional developments and philosophical reflections on the self as exemplified by the Stoic Seneca.


1: Introduction: Individualization as a concept for historical research, Jörg Rüpke
Historical change
2: Individualization as an historical trend in the religion of Phoenician cities in Hellenistic times, Corinne Bonnet
3: Disguising religious change in first-century Rome, John North
4: Cities, gods, and empire, Clifford Ando
Individual and society
5: Individual and Common Cult: Epigraphical Reflections, Fritz Graf
6: Ritual and the individual in Roman religion, Greg Woolf
Experiences and choices
7: Religious anthropology of high magical practice in the Empire, Richard Gordon
8: The cult of the saints in Late Antiquity as a privileged locus for religious individualization, Johan Leemans
Conceptualizing religious experience
9: Dimensions of Individuality in Ancient Mystery Cults: Religious Practice and Philosophical Discourse, Katharina Waldner
10: Individualization and Religious Rhetoric in Imperial Anatolia, Nicole Belayche
11: Mark's Gospel and the Pre-History of Individuation, Ian Henderson
12: Text, Prophesy, and the Individual in Hellenistic Judaism: Texts from Philo and Josephus, Tessa Rajak
13: Fighting for Difference: Forms and Limits of Religious Individualization in the "Shepherd of Hermas", Jörg Rüpke
14: Literature as preparation for martyrdom, Karen King
Master and Disciple
15: Religio mentis: Hermetic process of individualization, Giulia Sfameni Gasparro
16: The Discourse of Revelation as source for the Gnostic process of individualization, Giovanni Filoramo
Beyond the empirical individual
17: Cicero and Seneca on the fate of the soul: Private feelings and philosophical doctrines, Aldo Setaioli
18: The ritualization of the body in Roman Judaism: Individualization with a difference, Charlotte Fonrobert


Jorg Rupke is Fellow in Religious Studies at the Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt, and Director of the DFG-Research Group 'Religious Individualization in Historical Perspective'. He also an honorary Professor at Aarhus University.