Ancient Divination and Experience

ISBN : 9780198844549

Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy; Esther Eidinow
288 ページ
138 x 216 mm

This volume sets out to re-examine what ancient people - primarily those in ancient Greek and Roman communities, but also Mesopotamian and Chinese cultures - thought they were doing through divination, and what this can tell us about the religions and cultures in which divination was practised. The chapters, authored by a range of established experts and upcoming early-career scholars, engage with four shared questions: What kinds of gods do ancient forms of divination presuppose? What beliefs, anxieties, and hopes did divination seek to address? What were the limits of human 'control' of divination? What kinds of human-divine relationships did divination create/sustain? The volume as a whole seeks to move beyond functionalist approaches to divination in order to identify and elucidate previously understudied aspects of ancient divinatory experience and practice. Special attention is paid to the experiences of non-elites, the perception of divine presence, the ways in which divinatory techniques could surprise their users by yielding unexpected or unwanted results, the difficulties of interpretation with which divinatory experts were thought to contend, and the possibility that divination could not just ease, but also exacerbate, anxiety in practitioners and consultants.


List of Figures
List of Contributors
0 Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy and Esther Eidinow: Introduction
I. Expertise and Authority
1 Scott B. Noegel: Augur Anxieties in the Ancient Near East
2 Esther Eidinow: Testing the Oracle? On the Experience of (Multiple) Oracular Consultations
3 Hugh Bowden: Euxenippos at Oropos: Dreaming for Athens
4 Jason P. Davies: Whose Dream Is It Anyway? Navigating the Significance of Dreams in the Ancient World
II. Signs and Control
5 Lisa Maurizio: A Reconsideration of the Pythia's Use of Lots: Constraints and Chance in Delphic Divination
6 Andrew Stiles: Making Sense of Chaos: Civil War, Dynasties, and Family Trees
7 Federico Santangelo: Prodigies in the Early Principate?
8 Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy: Unsuccessful Sacrifice in Roman State Divination
III. Divine Presence?
9 Michael A. Flower: Divination and the 'Real Presence' of the Divine in Ancient Greece
10 Quinton Deeley: The Pythia at Delphi: A Cognitive Reconstruction of Oracular Possession
11 Lisa Raphals: Which Gods if Any: Gods, Cosmologies, and their Implications for Chinese and Greek Divination


Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy is Assistant Professor in Latin and Roman Social/Religious History at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research interests include Roman divination, ancient and modern conceptualizations of religion, interactions between religions in antiquity, and Greek and Latin historiography. She has published in such journals as Phoenix, ZPE, and GRBS, as well as authoring a monograph published by Oxford University Press, Roman Republican Augury: Freedom and Control.
Esther Eidinow is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research focuses on ancient Greek culture, especially religion and magic, and she is particularly interested in anthropological and cognitive approaches to these areas. She is the co-founder and co-editor in chief of the Journal of Cognitive Historiography. As well as numerous articles, her publications include Oracles, Curses, and Risk among the Ancient Greeks (OUP, 2007), Luck, Fate and Fortune: Antiquity and its Legacy (IB Tauris, 2010), and Envy, Poison, and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens (OUP, 2016).