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On Roman Religion: Lived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome
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Jorg Rupke (University of Erfurt Germany)
On Roman Religion: Lived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome by Jorg Rupke (University of Erfurt Germany) at Abbey's Bookshop,

On Roman Religion: Lived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome

Jorg Rupke (University of Erfurt Germany)


Cornell University Press

Ancient history: to c 500 CE


210 pages

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Was religious practice in ancient Rome cultic and hostile to individual expression? Or was there, rather, considerable latitude for individual initiative and creativity? Joerg Rupke, one of the world's leading authorities on Roman religion, demonstrates in his new book that it was a lived religion with individual appropriations evident at the heart of such rituals as praying, dedicating, making vows, and reading. On Roman Religion definitively dismantles previous approaches that depicted religious practice as uniform and static. Juxtaposing very different, strategic, and even subversive forms of individuality with traditions, their normative claims, and their institutional protections, Rupke highlights the dynamic character of Rome's religious institutions and traditions.

In Rupke's view, lived ancient religion is as much about variations or even outright deviance as it is about attempts and failures to establish or change rules and roles and to communicate them via priesthoods, practices related to images or classified as magic, and literary practices. Rupke analyzes observations of religious experience by contemporary authors including Propertius, Ovid, and the author of the Shepherd of Hermas. These authors, in very different ways, reflect on individual appropriation of religion among their contemporaries, and they offer these reflections to their readership or audiences. Rupke also concentrates on the ways in which literary texts and inscriptions informed the practice of rituals.

By:   Jorg Rupke (University of Erfurt Germany)
Imprint:   Cornell University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 16mm
ISBN:   9781501735110
ISBN 10:   150173511X
Series:   Townsend Lectures Series/Cornell Studies in Classical Philology
Pages:   210
Publication Date:   April 2019
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Joerg Rupke is Permanent Fellow in Religious Studies at the Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt. He is the author of many books, including From Jupiter to Christ: On the History of Religion in the Roman Imperial Period, Religion: Antiquity and Modern Legacy, and Religion in Republican Rome: Rationalization and Ritual Change.

The perspective adopted on Roman religion by Jorg Rupke in this book is radically new and puts the period in a long-awaited conversation with other eras. His work allows historians to better understand the transformations of religious practices in the first three centuries of the common era and beyond.Rupke must be commended for his all-encompassing approach to the material from Latin poetry to inscribed ex-votos, from prosopographical data to religious literature. -- Eric Rebillard, Cornell University, author of <I>Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200-450 CE</I> Joerg Rupke's On Roman Religion is a fascinating and timely new take on traditional Roman religion as it was experienced by its original practitioners in antiquity. Vivid, original, and easy to read, this book directly addresses the role of the individual within the sacred landscape of Roman gods and the rituals invoking them. It offers new readings of several key texts, notably by Propertius and Ovid, at the same time as applying insights from sociology and ethnology to produce a richly nuanced approach to how religion was shaped by the experiences of everyday people. This new study of religious experience, shaped by individual needs and choices within specific cultural contexts, provides an exciting and fresh perspective on traditional Roman religion. -- Harriet Flower, Princeton University, author of <I>Roman Republics</I> Provocative reading for anyone interested in Roman culture in the late Republic and early Empire. * Religious Studies Review * A lucid, thought-provoking, and highly persuasive attempt to access 'lived ancient religion.'... The book as a whole is enormously fertile, and really is essential reading for anyone interested in 'Roman religion.' * Reading Religion * Drawing on the contemporary methodology of lived religion, Rupke examines a variety of texts, practices, and religious artifacts to discover how Romans individualized their religion. He persuasively demonstrates that religious individuality can be seen in domestic cults, public sanctuaries, and personal visionary experiences.... This is a groundbreaking study by a leading historian of Roman religion. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. * Choice *

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