Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches: A Concise History of the Religious Cultures of Greece from Antiquity to the Present

Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches: A Concise History of the Religious Cultures of Greece from Antiquity to the Present

Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches: A Concise History of the Religious Cultures of Greece from Antiquity to the Present

Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches: A Concise History of the Religious Cultures of Greece from Antiquity to the Present

Synopsis

Covering an expanse of more than three thousand years,Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches charts, in one concise volume, the history of Greece's religious cultures from antiquity all the way through to present, post-independence Greece.

Focusing on the encounter and interaction between Hellenism and (Orthodox) Christianity, which is the most salient feature of Greece's religious landscape--influencing not only Greek religious history, but Greek culture and history as a whole--Vasilios N. Makrides considers the religious cultures of Greece both historically, from the ancient Greek through the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods up to the present, and systematically, by locating common characteristics and trajectoriesacross time. Weaving other traditions including Judaism and Islam into his account, Makrides highlights the patterns of development, continuity, and change that have characterized the country's long and unique religious history.

Contrary to the arguments of those who posit a single, exclusive religious culture for Greece, Makrides demonstrates the diversity and plurality that has characterized Greece's religious landscape across history. Beautifully written and easy to navigate, Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches offers an essential foundation for students, scholars, and the public on Greece's long religious history, from ancient Greece and the origins of Christianity to the formation of "Helleno-Christianity" in modern Greece.

Excerpt

The story of this book goes back to a 1996 congress at the University of Crete on the treatment and appropriation of the ancient Greek heritage, both in Greece and abroad. My own paper focused on the various modes of interaction between Hellenism and Orthodox Christianity in modern Greece. Since then I have reflected further on this subject matter and gathered additional material. My plan was to extend the temporal limits initially set and, if possible, consider this topic through the entirety of Greek history. This plan did not get set in motion until I started discussions with New York University Press about writing a concise religious history of Greece. The result is the present book, designed for students, academics, and other interested parties. In spite of its synthetic character, this volume does not simply summarize existing knowledge. To be honest, this was unavoidable in many cases. But all in all, its contributions are to bring together Greece’s religious past and present, and to consider its religious plurality as a whole, from a diachronic perspective—that is, tracing its development over time.

The endeavor to write such a book was intimidating for a number of reasons. To state the obvious, I am not an expert on all periods of Greek religious history (given the ever-growing specialization in academia, perhaps nobody is). Yet because holistic perspectives that aid in the understanding of religious change over long periods of time and in the context of broader social, political, and cultural transformations always intrigued me, I took the challenge. Certainly, all books are special in one way or another, but the present one was even more so. From the moment of its conception, I had to deal with a fundamental difficulty created by the nature of its material: How to adequately cover such an enormous temporal span within the limited space allowed? What exactly ought to be mentioned or left out, and following which criteria? Ideally, this huge topic could be better treated either in a multivolume work or in a special encyclopedia. Despite all this, I decided to adhere to a specific research agenda that had . . .

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