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Belief and the Individual in Ancient Greek Religion

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Belief and the Individual in Ancient Greek Religion, London, 19-20 July 2017.

Room G22/26, Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

Booking closes at 12 noon on 10th July 2017.


Detailed Description

Can we access the religious beliefs of ancient Greek individuals? Even though the notions of personal belief and an individual’s agency are attracting increasing interest in study of ancient Mediterranean religions, scholarship on Greek religion has tended not to move below the level of formally identified socio-political groups. This conference aims to explore evidence for individual belief in ancient Greek religious practice and experience, from the Mycenaean to the high Imperial period (participants are encouraged to consider processes of change). We aim to explore such themes as:

  • The relevance and use of scholarly terms, such as public, private, personal or individual, and relatedly, ‘high-intensity’ vs. ‘low-intensity’ beliefs, or personal vs. communal beliefs.
  • Religious concepts, such as purity, pollution, piety and impiety, also in their intersection with more general concepts such as morality and conscience.
  • Specifically religious activities, e.g., sacrifice, dedication, prayer, oracle consultation, etc.
  • Specifically religious space, both the configuration of a sacred space and/or its location and rules of access to it.
  • The role of religious activity in other spheres of life, e.g., social, political, economic).

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