Associations and Religion in Context The Hellenistic and Roman Eastern Mediterranean


Associations and Religion in Context The Hellenistic and Roman Eastern Mediterranean
Presses Universitaires de Liège
Annelies Cazemier & Stella Skaltsa
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40 €
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he terms ‘religious association’ or ‘cult association’ are regularly used in scholarship, but their use and applicability have been in need of critical re-assessment for some time. In an attempt to find a more nuanced approach and gain a better understanding of the formation, organisation, and aims of ancient associations, this volume seeks to elucidate the wider context(s) of associations’ religious as well as social and cultural dimensions. A series of questions have shaped the volume’s agenda: How and to what extent did religion inform the activities of ancient associations? What was the role of so-called religious associations in promoting social, political, cultural, and/or economic life in post-classical poleis? What role did religion play in associations’ self-representation and in their relations with individuals, groups, local authorities, and/or external powers? To what extent were associations responsible (within their region or more widely) for religious innovation, for example the introduction of new cults or the introduction of new cultic practices? All in all, the papers demonstrate that important insights can be gained from considering the multifarious aspects of associations in close conjunction. They illustrate how the various dimensions (religious, social, funerary, etc.) of associative life are closely connected, with religious aspects usually taking a prominent place. These aspects informed and expressed associations’ internal dynamics as well as their outward group identity and self-representation. Cultic activities and affiliations ultimately inform us about the places of private collectivities in society more broadly.

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