Hellenic Religion and Christianization, C. 370-529 - Vol. 2

Hellenic Religion and Christianization, C. 370-529 - Vol. 2

Hellenic Religion and Christianization, C. 370-529 - Vol. 2

Hellenic Religion and Christianization, C. 370-529 - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Christianity seeped into the social, political, and religious fabric of the Roman Empire at an incredible pace, and during the late fourth to early sixth centuries the effects of christianization upon both the city and the countryside were profound. Frank Trombley looks specifically at this process he calls christianization and at the points of conjuncture between the old and new religions, wherein the ordinary people of the Greek cities and their semi-Greek hinterlands accepted radical changes in their religious allegiances at the behest of Christian bishops, their deacons and periodeutai, the monks, and ultimately of the Christen emperors (preface). Trombley's view encompasses not the intellectual elite but the ordinary folk of religious life. He studies, for example the effect of the laws against sacrifice and sorcery instituted by the Christian religion upon the Greek religious practices of the general populace. He also instructs us how official sanctions against pagan gods and the christianization of rite become the backdrop for better understanding conversion to Christianity. Trombley's firm grasp on a variety of complex disciplines reassures the reader throughout that his conclusions are informed by rigorous analysis. This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details."

Excerpt

This volume completes the discussion of Hellenic religion and Christianization begun in Part I of this work. Part II is in many respects a separate and entirely different work, as it makes very extensive use of the epigraphy to give the problem of Christianization a demographic dimension. Elsewhere, the more or less proven methods of internal criticism of texts were employed, and these sections of the book require little comment here. It should be added that the greater part of Part II deals with conditions in the countryside in a very detailed way. This, too, differentiates it from Part I, which had a pronounced emphasis on the urban forms of late Hellenic religion.

Northern Syria was by far the easiest district to treat, because the inscriptions and architecture have been thoroughly studied in the volumes of the Princeton University expeditions of 1899, 1904— 5, and 1909. Here it was possible to be very precise on all points because of the common local practice of dating inscriptions by the Antiochene or Seleucid eras. Georges Tchalenko's survey of the material and economic life of the Limestone Massif gave the study greater coherence than might otherwise have been attainable. Greater problems attended the chapter on the Bostrene, Djebel Hauran, and Ledja because many of the inscriptions are available only in Waddington's edition of 1870, which is sound but requires updating. the number of dated inscriptions is much smaller here. For Asia Minor, it was not possible to produce an exhaustive survey of the epigraphic evidence. Little of it is dated. This, coupled with the multiplicity of editors and disparate editions, has caused me to prefer more of a thematic treatment of certain restricted areas of Phrygia that became Christian between c. 375–450. These sections are illustrative rather than comprehensive, but provide an important comparative model for what is said about Syria and Arabia. I have generally retained the names of sites as transliterated in the respective epigraphic collections, except in the case of well-known sites like Umm el-Jimal (rather than E. Littmann's Umm idj-Djimāl). This is intended as a convenience for nonorientalist scholars.

Some few new works have come to my attention since the text and major propositions of this volume were largely codified. I note them . . .

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