Legible Religion Hardback

Books, Gods, and Rituals in Roman Culture

by Duncan Macrae;

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Legible Religion

Full Product Description

Scholars have long emphasized the importance of scripture in religion, tacitly separating a few privileged "religions of the Book" from faiths lacking sacred texts, including ancient Roman religion. Looking beyond this distinction, Duncan MacRae delves into Roman religious culture to grapple with a central question: what was the significance of books in a religion without scripture? In the last two centuries BCE, Varro and other Roman authors wrote treatises on the nature of the Roman gods and the rituals devoted to them. Although these books were not sacred texts, they made Roman religion legible in ways analogous to scripture-based faiths such as Judaism and Christianity. Rather than reflect the astonishingly varied polytheistic practices of the regions under Roman sway, the contents of the books comprise Rome's "civil theology"-not a description of an official state religion but one limited to the civic role of religion in Roman life.
Tracing the subsequent influence of these religious texts from the late first century BCE to early fifth century CE, MacRae shows how the establishment of the Roman imperial monarchy and the rise of the Christian Church shaped their reception and interpretation.

Legible Religion by Duncan Macrae was published by Harvard University Press in June 2016. The ISBN for Legible Religion is 9780674088719.

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Details for Legible Religion

Author / Artist
Book FormatHardback
PublisherHarvard University Press (June 2016)
Number of Pages248
Thickness23 mm
Height235 mm
Width156 mm
Product Code4375596
Page last updated 18th April 2018
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