By Sarah Iles Johnston
spiritual ideals and practices, which permeated all facets of lifestyles in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes during the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners visiting from position to put peddled their talents as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels adorned with illustrations of myths traveled with them. New gods encountered in international lands by means of retailers and conquerors have been occasionally taken domestic to be tailored and followed. This number of essays via a individual foreign staff of students, drawn from the groundbreaking reference paintings Religion within the historic World, deals an expansive, comparative standpoint in this advanced religious international.
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Additional info for Ancient Religions
Porter, Barbara Nevling, ed. One God or Many? Concepts of Divinity in the Ancient World. [Chebeague, Maine:] Casco Bay Assyriological Institute, 2000. Ribichini, Sergio, Maria Rocchi, and Paolo Xella, eds. La questione delle inﬂuenze vicino-orientali sulla religione greca: Stato degli studi e prospettive della ricerca. Atti del Colloquio Internazionale, Roma, 20–22 maggio 1999. Rome: Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, 2001. Roller, Lynn E. In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele.
Polytheistic cosmology views the cosmos as a cooperative process: the deities cooperate in creating and maintaining the world. In Egypt, the sun-god and his daily course across the sky and the underworld beneath the earth form the center of this processual cosmology. In Babylonia and Greece, the gods seem to be less involved in maintaining the cosmic process and freer to intervene in human affairs. There, the aspect of unity and coherence is expressed above all in social and political terms, especially in the model of a royal court.
20). Cultural systems, furthermore, can retain (and sometimes resemanticize) elements that belong to former sociopolitical systems—the pastoralist’s reed hut remains prominent in Mesopotamian rituals well into the Iron Age, and the Greek pantheon remains organized as a royal court even under Athenian democracy. No theory up to now convincingly correlates social and religious systems, and most attempts by sociologists such as Max Weber or Niklaus Luhmann have concentrated on Christianity and sometimes naively generalized Christian conceptions of religion.