In On Greek Religion, Robert Parker offers a provocative and wide-ranging entrée into the world of ancient Greek religion, focusing especially on the interpretive challenge of studying a religious system that in many ways remains desperately alien from the vantage point of the twenty-first century. One of the world's leading authorities on ancient Greek religion, Parker raises fundamental methodological questions about the study of this vast subject. Given the abundance of evidence we now have about the nature and practice of religion among the ancient Greeks—including literary, historical, and archaeological sources—how can we best exploit that evidence and agree on the central underlying issues? Is it possible to develop a larger, "unified" theoretical framework that allows for coherent discussions among archaeologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and historians?
In seven thematic chapters, Parker focuses on key themes in Greek religion: the epistemological basis of Greek religion; the relation of ritual to belief; theories of sacrifice; the nature of gods and heroes; the meaning of rituals, festivals, and feasts; and the absence of religious authority. Ranging across the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods, he draws on multiple disciplines both within and outside classical studies. He also remains sensitive to varieties of Greek religious experience. Also included are five appendixes in which Parker applies his innovative methodological approach to particular cases, such as the acceptance of new gods and the consultation of oracles. On Greek Religion will stir debate for its bold questioning of disciplinary norms and for offering scholars and students new points of departure for future research.
This book provides a brief but comprehensive introduction to the society and culture of the Archaic period in the Greek world from c. 750 to c. 480 BCE. It focuses on the persistent and often-conflicting themes, topics, and controversies of the Archaic Age (e.g., elite and non-elite, religion and science, tradition and humanism). It seeks to lead the reader to a broader and deeper understanding of the period by placing themes and topics in a mutually supportive contextual network that will underscore their significance.
Archaic Greece: The Age of New Reckonings begins with a chapter on how sources for the period are evaluated and deployed, and goes on to offer a concise yet thorough historical overview of the Archaic period. Subsequent chapters cover polis and politics; war and violence; religion; science; philosophy; art; literature; festivals and games; social forces, values, and behaviors; and gender and sex.
The book:Offers a novel approach to a very significant period that foregrounds literary evidence and the words voiced by Archaic Greeks, combining scholarship with readability; Conceptualizes Archaic Greek culture and society by focusing substantially on topics that supplement the history of the period; Combines diverse elements of society and culture, including religion, art, literature, games and festivals, gender, sexuality, and politics in order to develop a unique picture of Greece during the Archaic period; Includes a summarizing essay that draws chapters together, emphasizing the implications of their topics and themes.
Archaic Greece: The Age of New Reckonings should appeal to college-level instructors as a book to assign to students enrolled in courses involving Archaic Greece and to others interested in this intriguing and pivotal period in ancient Greece.