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A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity



A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity

Josef Lössl (Editor), Nicholas J. Baker-Brian (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-96812-3 May 2018 Wiley-Blackwell 720 Pages

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A comprehensive review of the development, geographic spread, and cultural influence of religion in Late Antiquity

A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity offers an authoritative and comprehensive survey of religion in Late Antiquity. This historical era spanned from the second century to the eighth century of the Common Era. With contributions from leading scholars in the field, the Companion explores the evolution and development of religion and the role various religions played in the cultural, political, and social transformations of the late antique period.

The authors examine the theories and methods used in the study of religion during this period, consider the most notable historical developments, and reveal how religions spread geographically. The authors also review the major religious traditions that emerged in Late Antiquity and include reflections on the interaction of these religions within their particular societies and cultures. This important Companion:

  • Brings together in one volume the work of a notable team of international scholars
  • Explores the principal geographical divisions of the late antique world
  • Offers a deep examination of the predominant religions of Late Antiquity
  • Examines established views in the scholarly assessment of the religions of Late Antiquity
  • Includes information on the current trends in late-antique scholarship on religion

Written for scholars and students of religion, A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity offers a comprehensive survey of religion and the influence religion played in the culture, politics, and social change during the late antique period. 

List of Figures ix

List of Maps xi

List of Tables xiii

Notes on Contributors xv

Acknowledgments xxi

List of Sources xxiii

List of Abbreviations xlvii


Introduction 1
Nicholas J. Baker-Brian and Josef Lössl

1 Religion in Late Antiquity—Late Antiquity in Religion 9
Thomas E. Hunt

PART I Historical and Geographical Approaches 31

2 Religion in the Hellenistic and Early Post‐Hellenistic Era 33
Josef Lössl

3 Christianity and Paganism in the Roman Empire, 250–450 ce 61
Mark Humphries

4 The Latin West in the Period of Transition from “the Late Roman Empire” to “Early Medieval Europe”: Consolidation and Innovation 81
Tom O’Loughlin

5 The Celtic and Germanic West and North 99
Bernhard Maier

6 The “Greek East”: Christianization and the Provincial Elites 115
Dirk Krausmüller

7 Caucasia: Albania, Armenia, and Georgia 135
Nikoloz Aleksidze

8 The Rise of Monotheism in Arabia 157
Holger Zellentin

9 Along the Nile: From Alexandria to Aksum 181
Paul Dilley

10 Across the Indian Ocean: Reconsidering Christianity in South Asia to the Ninth Century 207
James M. Hegarty

11 Along the Silk Road: From Aleppo to Chang’an 233
Max Deeg

PART II Traditions and Identities 255

12 The Beginnings of Jewish Late Antiquity: The Fate of the Book of Esther 257
Hector M. Patmore

13 Christianity 277
Augustine Casiday

14 Varieties of Christian Gnosis 297
Timothy Pettipiece

15 A New Religion? The Emergence of Manichaeism in Late Antiquity 319
Nicholas J. Baker‐Brian

16 Paleo‐Islam: Transfigurations of Late Antique Religion 345
Aziz Al‐Azmeh

17 Hermetism 369
Claudio Moreschini

18 The “Pagans” of Late Antiquity 391
Jan R. Stenger

19 Ancient Philosophy Transformed: The Religious Turn in Philosophy 411
Daniel King

20 Astrology and Religion in Late Antiquity 433
Hannah Mace

PART III Themes and Discussions 453

21 Life and Death in Late Antiquity: Religious Rituals and Popular Culture 455
Lucy Grig

22 Religion and the Body: Asceticism 475
Hannah Hunt

23 Demons and Demonologies 493
Sophie Lunn‐Rockliffe

24 Religion, Medicine, and Health 511
Heidi Marx

25 Religion, Warfare, and Demography 529
Mischa Meier

26 The Scriptural Galaxy of Late Antiquity 553
Guy G. Stroumsa

27 Proscription of Sacred Texts in Late Antiquity 571
Mar Marcos

28 Religious Expression in Art and Architecture 591
Emma Loosley

29 Religious Expression in Music and Dance 611
Clemens Leonhard

Index 635