Cornell Studies in Classical Philology

8 Books

In this provocative book Éric Rebillard challenges many long-held assumptions about early Christian burial customs. For decades scholars of early Christianity have argued that the Church owned and operated burial grounds for Christians as early as the third century. Through a careful reading of primary sources including legal codes, theological works, epigraphical inscriptions, and sermons, Rebillard shows that there is little evidence to suggest that Christians occupied exclusive or isolated burial grounds in this early period.

In fact, as late as the fourth and fifth centuries the Church did not impose on the faithful specific rituals for laying the dead to rest. In the preparation of Christians for burial, it was usually next of kin and not representatives of the Church who were responsible for what form of rite would be celebrated, and evidence from inscriptions and tombstones shows that for the most part Christians didn't separate themselves from non-Christians when burying their dead. According to Rebillard it would not be until the early Middle Ages that the Church gained control over burial practices and that "Christian cemeteries" became common.

In this translation of Religion et Sépulture: L'église, les vivants et les morts dans l'Antiquité tardive, Rebillard fundamentally changes our understanding of early Christianity. The Care of the Dead in Late Antiquity will force scholars of the period to rethink their assumptions about early Christians as separate from their pagan contemporaries in daily life and ritual practice.

"There is something of a paradox about our access to ancient Greek religion. We know too much, and too little. The materials that bear on it far outreach an individual's capacity to assimilate: so many casual allusions in so many literary texts over more than a millennium, so many direct or indirect references in so many inscriptions from so many places in the Greek world, such an overwhelming abundance of physical remains. But genuinely revealing evidence does not often cluster coherently enough to create a vivid sense of the religious realities of a particular time and place. Amid a vast archipelago of scattered islets of information, only a few are of a size to be habitable."—from the Preface

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.

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–ca. 406) is one of the great Christian Latin writers of late antiquity. Born in northeastern Spain during an era of momentous change for both the Empire and the Christian religion, he was well educated, well connected, and a successful member of the late Roman elite, a man fully engaged with the politics and culture of his times. Prudentius wrote poetry that was deeply influenced by classical writers and in the process he revived the ethical, historical, and political functions of poetry. This aspect of his work was especially valued in the Middle Ages by Christian writers who found themselves similarly drawn to the Classical tradition.

Prudentius's Hamartigenia, consisting of a 63-line preface followed by 966 lines of dactylic hexameter verse, considers the origin of sin in the universe and its consequences, culminating with a vision of judgment day: the damned are condemned to torture, worms, and flames, while the saved return to a heaven filled with delights, one of which is the pleasure of watching the torments of the damned. As Martha A. Malamud shows in the interpretive essay that accompanies her lapidary translation, the first new English translation in more than forty years, Hamartigenia is critical for understanding late antique ideas about sin, justice, gender, violence, and the afterlife. Its radical exploration of and experimentation with language have inspired generations of thinkers and poets since—most notably John Milton, whose Paradise Lost owes much of its conception of language and its strikingly visual imagery to Prudentius's poem.

The publication of Jacqueline de Romilly’s Histoire et raison chez Thucydide in 1956 virtually transformed scholarship on Thucydides. Rather than mining The Peloponnesian War to speculate on its layers of composition or second-guess its accuracy, it treated it as a work of art deserving rhetorical and aesthetic analysis. Ahead of its time in its sophisticated focus upon the verbal texture of narrative, it proved that a literary approach offered the most productive and nuanced way to study Thucydides. Still in print in the original French, the book has influenced numerous Classicists and historians, and is now available in English for the first time in a careful translation by Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings. The Cornell edition includes an introduction by Hunter R. Rawlings III and Jeffrey Rusten tracing the context of this book’s original publication and its continuing influence on the study of Thucydides.

Romilly shows that Thucydides constructs his account of the Peloponnesian War as a profoundly intellectual experience for readers who want to discern the patterns underlying historical events. Employing a commanding logic that exercises total control over the data of history, Thucydides uses rigorous principles of selection, suggestive juxtapositions, and artfully opposed speeches to reveal systematic relationships between plans and outcomes, impose meaning on the smallest events, and insist on the constant battle between intellect and chance. Thucydides’ mind found in unity and coherence its ideal of historical truth.

Libanius of Antioch was a rhetorician of rare skill and eloquence. So renowned was he in the fourth century that his school of rhetoric in Roman Syria became among the most prestigious in the Eastern Empire. In this book, Raffaella Cribiore draws on her unique knowledge of the entire body of Libanius’s vast literary output—including 64 orations, 1,544 letters, and exercises for his students—to offer the fullest intellectual portrait yet of this remarkable figure whom John Chrystostom called "the sophist of the city."Libanius (314–ca. 393) lived at a time when Christianity was celebrating its triumph but paganism tried to resist. Although himself a pagan, Libanius cultivated friendships within Antioch’s Christian community and taught leaders of the Church including Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea. Cribiore calls him a "gray pagan" who did not share the fanaticism of the Emperor Julian. Cribiore considers the role that a major intellectual of Libanius’s caliber played in this religiously diverse society and culture. When he wrote a letter or delivered an oration, who was he addressing and what did he hope to accomplish? One thing that stands out in Libanius’s speeches is the startling amount of invective against his enemies. How common was character assassination of this sort? What was the subtext to these speeches and how would they have been received? Adapted from the Townsend Lectures that Cribiore delivered at Cornell University in 2010, this book brilliantly restores Libanius to his rightful place in the rich and culturally complex world of Late Antiquity.
When we think of Roman Poetry, the names most likely to come to mind are Vergil, Horace, and Ovid, who flourished during the age of Augustus. The genius of Imperial poets such as Juvenal, Martial, and Statius is now generally recognized, but the final years of the Roman Empire are not normally associated with poetic achievement. Recently, however, classical scholars have begun reassessing a number of poets from Late Antiquity—names such as Ausonius, Claudian, and Prudentius—understanding them as artists of considerable talent and influence. In The Space That Remains, Aaron Pelttari offers the first systematic study of these fourth-century poets since Michael Robert's foundational The Jeweled Style (Cornell, 1989). It is the first to give equal attention to both Christian and Pagan poetry and the first to take seriously the issue of readership.Like the Roman Empire, Latin literature was in a state of flux during the fourth century. As Pelttari shows, the period marked a turn towards forms of writing that privilege the reader's active involvement in shaping the meaning of the text. In the poetry of Ausonius, Claudian, and Prudentius we can see the increasing importance of distinctions between old and new, ancient and modern, forgotten and remembered. The strange traditionalism and verbalism of the day often concealed a desire for immediacy and presence. We can see these changes most clearly in the expectations placed upon readers. The space that remains is the space that the reader comes to inhabit, as would increasingly become the case in the literature of the Latin Middle Ages.
Was religious practice in ancient Rome cultic and hostile to individual expression? Or was there, rather, considerable latitude for individual initiative and creativity? Jörg Rüpke, 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, Rüpke highlights the dynamic character of Rome’s religious institutions and traditions.

In Rüpke’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. Rüpke 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. Rüpke also concentrates on the ways in which literary texts and inscriptions informed the practice of rituals.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.