By Ms. Sarah Iles Johnston
Spiritual ideals and practices, which permeated all points of existence in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes through 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 overseas lands by way of retailers and conquerors have been occasionally taken domestic to be tailored and followed. This selection of essays by way of a amazing foreign team of students, drawn from the groundbreaking reference paintings faith within the historic global, deals an expansive, comparative viewpoint in this complicated non secular global.
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The “theologization” of history: Anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism The tripartite structure of polytheism establishes a rather indirect relation between gods and humans. The sphere of direct encounters and interventions, which plays such an important role in Greek, Roman, and Babylonian mythology, seems to be missing. How shall we account for the widespread belief that illness and misfortune are expressions of divine wrath and that the gods intervene in various forms in human affairs? There seems to be a fourth dimension of divine manifestation and religious experience, which comprises human life and history.
For their sake he causes there to be light. To see them he travels [the heavens]. He established for himself a chapel at their back. When they weep, he hears. He created for them a ruler in the egg and a commander to strengthen the backbone of the weak. He made for them magic as a weapon to ward off the blow of fate, watching over them night and day. He thrashed the cowardly among them, as a man beats his son for the sake of his brother. God knows every name. 23 monotheism and polytheism This is not only an extremely anthropocentric view of creation, it is also a monotheistic view of the divine.
Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. Meuli, Karl. Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Thomas Gelzer. Basel, 1975. 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.
Ancient Religions by Ms. Sarah Iles Johnston