Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Routledge Religion

I just received my Routledge catalogue for religion. There were numerous interesting books listed, but two caught my eye:

Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets by Fritz Graf and Sarah Iles Johnston.

Here is its product description:

Fascinating texts written on small gold tablets that were deposited in graves provide a unique source of information about what some Greeks and Romans believed regarding the fate that awaited them after death, and how they could influence it. These texts, dating from the late fifth century BCE to the second century CE, have been part of the scholarly debate on ancient afterlife beliefs since the end of the nineteenth century. Recent finds and analysis of the texts have reshaped our understanding of their purpose and of the perceived afterlife.

The tablets belonged to those who had been initiated into the mysteries of Dionysus Bacchius and relied heavily upon myths narrated in poems ascribed to the mythical singer Orpheus. After providing the Greek text and a translation of all the available tablets, the authors analyze their role in the mysteries of Dionysus, and present an outline of the myths concerning the origins of humanity and of the sacred texts that the Greeks ascribed to Orpheus. Related ancient texts are also appended in English translations. Providing the first book-length edition and discussion of these enigmatic texts in English, and their first English translation, this book is essential to the study of ancient Greek religion.


The Mysticism of St. Augustine: Re-Reading the Confessions by John Peter Kenney.


This book explores Augustine's account of his experience as set down in the Confessions, and considers his mysticism in relation to his classical Platonist philosophy. John Peter Kenney argues that while the Christian contemplative mysticism created by Augustine is in many ways founded on Platonic thought, Platonism ultimately fails Augustine in that it cannot retain the truths that it anticipates. The Confessions offer a response to this impasse by generating two critical ideas in medieval and modern religious thought: first, the conception of contemplation as a purely epistemic event, in contrast to classical Platonism; second, the tenet that salvation is absolutely distinct from enlightenment.

This last one particularly caught my interest because I am teaching Confessions this week and next week.


April DeConick said...


Thanks for pointing to the Orphic book. There is however a just-published Brill volume on the Orphic tablets too. It's on my desk at school. I think it is called The Instructions of the Netherworld, or something like that.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jared, I wish I had had your education by the time I was your age. If fascinates me.
As to your books, yes, they, too, are fascinating! Thanks for sharing them...

Anonymous said...

Hi Jared,

I would like to ask your kind assistance in the following matter. Can you publish a following announcement in your blog.
I greatly appreciate.

Best wishes,
Andrei Orlov

The Slavonic Pseudepigrapha Project would like to announce the launch of two new resource pages devoted to 2 (Slavonic) Enoch ( http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/2enoch.html )

and the Apocalypse of Abraham ( http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/apocalypseabraham.html ).

The resource pages include original manuscripts, translations, extensive bibliographies, and research articles pertaining to these important apocalyptic works which survived in Slavonic language.

The Slavonic Pseudepigrapha Project ( http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/pseudepigrapha.html ) is an electronic resource developed by scholars from the Theology Department at Marquette University (Milwaukee, USA).


Jared Calaway said...

Thanks April for the reference. I would like to take a look at the tablets.

And, Andrei, I'll post that info immediately.