Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World


As distinct from the extant studies of ancient canonical texts, which focus either on literary (Greco-Roman) or religious (Judeo-Christian) canons, the present volume aims at bridging between these two fields by proposing the first comparative study of canon. An international team of experts discusses the processes of canon-formation in societies of the ancient world, addressing such issues as canon and the articulation of identity; the hermeneutical attitude toward canonical texts; textual fixity and openness; oral and written canons; methods of transmission, and more. Among the topics discussed are Mesopotamian canons; Zoroastrianism; the Bible; Homer; literary and philosophical canons in ancient Greece and Rome; the New Testament; the Roman law; Rabbinic Judaism and Kabbalistic literature. The future of the so-called Western Canon is one of the most hotly debated issues of the day. There is reason to believe that what is perceived today as a unique crisis, can be put into perspective by students of ancient societies, for the simple reason that the ancient world offers us the historical perspective of civilizations as a whole and allows us to study cultural phenomena in the longue durée.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Margalit Finkelberg
  • Guy G. Stroumsa
  • Niek Veldhuis
  • Stephen B. Chapman
  • Cristiano Grottanelli
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boston
Publication year:
  • 2003


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