Smoke Signals for the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through Roman Periods

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9780199916405: Smoke Signals for the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through Roman Periods
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Animal sacrifice has been critical to the study of ancient Mediterranean religions since the nineteenth century. Recently, two theories have dominated the subject of sacrifice: the psychological and ethological approach of Walter Burkert and the sociological and cultural approach of Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne. These writers have argued that sacrifice allays feelings of guilt at the slaughter of sacrificial animals and that it promotes solidarity. None of them leaves much room for the role of priests or gods, or compares animal sacrifice to other oblations offered to the gods. F. S. Naiden redresses the omission of these features to show that, far from being an attempt to assuage guilt or foster solidarity, animal sacrifice is an attempt to make contact with a divine being, and that it is so important-and perceived to be so risky-for the worshippers that it becomes subject to regulations of unequaled extent and complexity. Smoke Signals for the Gods addresses these regulations as well as literary texts, while drawing on recent archaeological work on faunal remains. It also seeks to explain how mistaken views of sacrifice arose, and traces them as far back as early Christianity. This many-sided study provides a new picture of ancient Greek animal sacrifice and of the religion of which sacrifice was a part.

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About the Author:


F. S. Naiden is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Review:


"Sacrifice has long been recognised as the central Greek ritual. Fred Naiden's book puts its study on a completely new footing and transcends the older studies by Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant. All students will from now on have to start with his book. It is a milestone in the field."--Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen


"A game-changing book that should be read by anyone with an interest in ancient religions. Intensely learned, and bristling with theoretical insight, Naiden sweeps away the standard paradigm of how animal sacrifice works in ancient Greece, and reveals how that paradigm was shaped by agendas and prejudices of modern European thought. The study of animal sacrifice in ancient Greece will never be the same again."--Ian Rutherford, University of Reading


"Naiden's Ancient Supplication cogently demonstrated that supplicating the gods was a complex, multi-stage ritual. He now turns to the act of (especially blood) sacrifice, focusing on the centrality of the ritual in ancient Greece, but with due consideration of Hebraic and Roman practices.... He argues, often wittily, that current explanatory models are constructed of theories, prejudices, and ancient literary evidence, inadequately incorporating iconographic and epigraphic evidence. The author considers the full range of evidence to place the gods as central to the sacrificial ritual. More precisely, he analyzes what those sacrificing expected of the gods (and humans did not always receive what they requested).... Those who follow Walter Burkert, Marcel Detienne, and Jean-Pierre Vernant, for example, may wish to reconsider their understanding of sacrifice.... Essential."--P. B. Harvey Jr., CHOICE


"Sacrifice has long been recognised as the central Greek ritual. Fred Naiden's book puts its study on a completely new footing and transcends the older studies by Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant. All students will from now on have to start with his book. It is a milestone in the field."--Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen


"A game-changing book that should be read by anyone with an interest in ancient religions. Intensely learned, and bristling with theoretical insight, Naiden sweeps away the standard paradigm of how animal sacrifice works in ancient Greece, and reveals how that paradigm was shaped by agendas and prejudices of modern European thought. The study of animal sacrifice in ancient Greece will never be the same again."--Ian Rutherford, University of Reading


"Naiden is the first scholar to pull together so many accounts of sacrifice in such a sophisticated fashion, and he exhibits a masterful range. His collection of anecdotes and testimonia will benefit generations of scholars, who could only look to the abbreviated entries in lexica or handbooks like ThesCRA, which do not aim to be comprehensive. Naiden embraces the full spectrum and is able to collapse it all into an accessible paradigm based on human desire for divine approval and assistance. It's brilliantly simple and the narrative he creates renders a dizzying variety of ancient testimony and criticism into a bite-sized format. He has effectively dismantled the 20th century theories, creating a new point of reference for Classical studies on this topic."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"Naiden's Ancient Supplication cogently demonstrated that supplicating the gods was a complex, multi-stage ritual. He now turns to the act of (especially blood) sacrifice, focusing on the centrality of the ritual in ancient Greece, but with due consideration of Hebraic and Roman practices.... He argues, often wittily, that current explanatory models are constructed of theories, prejudices, and ancient literary evidence, inadequately incorporating iconographic and epigraphic evidence. The author considers the full range of evidence to place the gods as central to the sacrificial ritual. More precisely, he analyzes what those sacrificing expected of the gods (and humans did not always receive what they requested).... Those who follow Walter Burkert, Marcel Detienne, and Jean-Pierre Vernant, for example, may wish to reconsider their understanding of sacrifice.... Essential."--P. B. Harvey Jr., CHOICE


"Sacrifice has long been recognised as the central Greek ritual. Fred Naiden's book puts its study on a completely new footing and transcends the older studies by Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant. All students will from now on have to start with his book. It is a milestone in the field."--Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen


"A game-changing book that should be read by anyone with an interest in ancient religions. Intensely learned, and bristling with theoretical insight, Naiden sweeps away the standard paradigm of how animal sacrifice works in ancient Greece, and reveals how that paradigm was shaped by agendas and prejudices of modern European thought. The study of animal sacrifice in ancient Greece will never be the same again."--Ian Rutherford, University of Reading


"A landmark study of Greek sacrifice... Naiden's volume is a joy to read -- breezy and witty, but obviously the product of deep exposure not only to classical sources but to modern classical scholarship." --First Things


"Naiden is the first scholar to pull together so many accounts of sacrifice in such a sophisticated fashion, and he exhibits a masterful range. Naiden embraces the full spectrum and is able to collapse it all into an accessible paradigm based on human desire for divine approval and assistance. ... He has effectively dismantled the twentieth-century theories, creating a new point of reference for Classical studies on this topic." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"This well-written book is essential reading for those interested in Greek sacrifice for its own sake--but also for those interested in early Christian (or, for that matter, early modern) reactions to Greek sacrifice." --Religious Studies Review


"Naiden is the first scholar to pull together so many accounts of sacrifice in such a sophisticated fashion, and he exhibits a masterful range. His collection of anecdotes and testimonia will benefit generations of scholars, who could only look to the abbreviated entries in lexica or handbooks like ThesCRA, which do not aim to be comprehensive. Naiden embraces the full spectrum and is able to collapse it all into an accessible paradigm based on human desire for divine approval and assistance. It's brilliantly simple and the narrative he creates renders a dizzying variety of ancient testimony and criticism into a bite-sized format. He has effectively dismantled the 20th century theories, creating a new point of reference for Classical studies on this topic."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"Naiden's Ancient Supplication cogently demonstrated that supplicating the gods was a complex, multi-stage ritual. He now turns to the act of (especially blood) sacrifice, focusing on the centrality of the ritual in ancient Greece, but with due consideration of Hebraic and Roman practices.... He argues, often wittily, that current explanatory models are constructed of theories, prejudices, and ancient literary evidence, inadequately incorporating iconographic and epigraphic evidence. The author considers the full range of evidence to place the gods as central to the sacrificial ritual. More precisely, he analyzes what those sacrificing expected of the gods (and humans did not always receive what they requested).... Those who follow Walter Burkert, Marcel Detienne, and Jean-Pierre Vernant, for example, may wish to reconsider their understanding of sacrifice.... Essential."--P. B. Harvey Jr., CHOICE


"Sacrifice has long been recognised as the central Greek ritual. Fred Naiden's book puts its study on a completely new footing and transcends the older studies by Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant. All students will from now on have to start with his book. It is a milestone in the field."--Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen


"A game-changing book that should be read by anyone with an interest in ancient religions. Intensely learned, and bristling with theoretical insight, Naiden sweeps away the standard paradigm of how animal sacrifice works in ancient Greece, and reveals how that paradigm was shaped by agendas and prejudices of modern European thought. The study of animal sacrifice in ancient Greece will never be the same again."--Ian Rutherford, University of Reading


"A landmark study of Greek sacrifice... Naiden's volume is a joy to read -- breezy and witty, but obviously the product of deep exposure not only to classical sources but to modern classical scholarship." --First Things


"Naiden is the first scholar to pull together so many accounts of sacrifice in such a sophisticated fashion, and he exhibits a masterful range. Naiden embraces the full spectrum and is able to collapse it all into an accessible paradigm based on human desire for divine approval and assistance. ... He has effectively dismantled the twentieth-century theories, creating a new point of reference for Classical studies on this topic." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"This well-written book is essential reading for those interested in Greek sacrifice for its own sake--but also for those interested in early Christian (or, for that matter, early modern) reactions to Greek sacrifice." --Religious Studies Review


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9780190232719: Smoke Signals for the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through Roman Periods

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ISBN 10:  0190232714 ISBN 13:  9780190232719
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2015
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