The Theory of Will in Classical Antiquity

Albrecht Dihle, Berlin: De Gruyter, 1982


The concept of the will as a faculty of mind independent of the intellect or the emotions was never employed by ancient Greek thinkers. Professor Dihle investigates what the Greeks did think about voluntary activity, how they were able to work without the concept of the will, and the difficulties they encountered because of the lack of such a concept. His six chapters – Cosmological conceptions in the Second Century A. D., The Greek View of Human Action I, The Greek View of Human Action II, St. Paul and Philo, Philosophy and Religion in Late Antiquity and St. Augustine and His Concept of Will – take him virtually through the whole of Greek literature, from Homer through Plato and Aristotle and later philosophers, trough the early Christian writers, and finally into the Roman tradition. The study culminates with St. Augustine, who first used by modern thinkers, to point to the very essence of the moral self of man. Professor Dihle’s work combines immense intellect and learning with great clarity of exposition. His book will gain a wide readership among those interested in philosophy, religion, and classical studies.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

  1. Cosmological conceptions in the Second Century A. D.
  2. The Greek View of Human Action I
  3. The Greek View of Human Action II
  4. Paul and Philo
  5. Philosophy and Religion in Late Antiquity
  6. Augustine and His Concept of Will

Appendix I

Appendix II



Index of Greek and Latin Words

Index of Passages Cited

General Index


Religious Dimensions of the Self

in the Second Century CE

Jörg Rüpke & Gregory Woolf, Heidelberg: Mohr Siebeck, 2013


Jörg Rüpke et Greg Woolf viennent de publier un ouvrage collectif Religious Dimensions of the Self in the Second Century CE, Tübingen, 2013. Il s’agit de la publication des communications présentées lors d’un atelier qui s’est déroulé à Erfurt en juin 2010. L’ensemble est organisé en quatre parties :

– la tradition philosophique (Eran Almagor sur Plutarque et Jula Wildberger sur Epictète)

– les concepts religieux du soi (Jörg Rüpke sur le Pasteur d’Hermas, Harry O. Maier sur Clément d’Alexandrie, Christoph Markschies sur les valentiniens, Anders Klostergaard Petersen sur Justin le Martyr, Anna Van den Kerchove sur des écrits hermétiques, Richard Gordon sur le mystagogue)

– la seconde sophistique (Wolfgang Spickermann sur Lucian et Dorothee Elm von der Osten sur Lucian et Apulée)

– les pratiques du soi (Zsuzsanna Várhelyi sur le soin de soi, Elena Muñiz Grijalvo sur les offrandes votives et Peter Gemeinhardt sur la représentation au début du christianisme).

Que ce livre aux contributions diverses apporte une nouvelle pierre aux réflexions sur le Soi dans l’Antiquité.

(Texte de la maison d’édition)

Table de matières

Gregory D. Woolf/Jörg Rüpke: Introduction

Rethinking Philosophical Tradition

Eran Almagor: Dualism and the Self in Plutarch’s Thought

Jula Wildberger: Delimiting a Self by God: Epictetus and Other Stoics Religious Concepts of the Self

Jörg Rüpke: Two Cities and One Self: Transformations of Jerusalem and Reflexive Individuality in the Shepherd of Hermas

Harry O. Maier: Dressing for Church: Tailoring the Christian Self in Clement of Alexandria

Christoph Markschies: Das ‘Selbst’ in der Valentinianischen Gnosis

Anders Klostergaard Petersen: Emergence of Selfhood in the Writings of Justin

Anna Van den Kerchove: Self-Affirmation and Self-Negation in the Hermetic Revelation Treatises

Richard Gordon: Innovation, Individuality and Power in Graeco-Roman Religion: The Mystagogue Second Sophistic Perspectives

Wolfgang Spickermann: Philosophical Standards and Individual Life Style: Lucian’s Peregrinus/Proteus – Charlatan and Hero

Dorothee Elm von der Osten: Habitus corporis und Selbstdarstellung in Lukians Alexander oder der Lügenprophet und der Apologie des Apuleius Practices of the Self

Zsuzsanna Várhelyi: Selves in Sickness and Health: Some Religious Aspects of Self-Care Among the Imperial Elite

Elena Muñiz Grivaljo: Votive Offerings and the Self in Roman Athens

Peter Gemeinhardt: Wege und Umwege zum Selbst: Bildung und Religion im frühen Christentum


From Shame to Sin

The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity

Kyle Harper, New Jersey: Harvard Univeristy Press, 2013


When Rome was at its height, an emperor’s male beloved, victim of an untimely death, would be worshipped around the empire as a god. In this same society, the routine sexual exploitation of poor and enslaved women was abetted by public institutions. Four centuries later, a Roman emperor commanded the mutilation of men caught in same-sex affairs, even as he affirmed the moral dignity of women without any civic claim to honor. The gradual transformation of the Roman world from polytheistic to Christian marks one of the most sweeping ideological changes of premodern history. At the center of it all was sex. Exploring sources in literature, philosophy, and art, Kyle Harper examines the rise of Christianity as a turning point in the history of sexuality and helps us see how the roots of modern sexuality are grounded in an ancient religious revolution. While Roman sexual culture was frankly and freely erotic, it was not completely unmoored from constraint. Offending against sexual morality was cause for shame, experienced through social condemnation. The rise of Christianity fundamentally changed the ethics of sexual behavior. In matters of morality, divine judgment transcended that of mere mortals, and shame — a social concept — gave way to the theological notion of sin. This transformed understanding led to Christianity’s explicit prohibitions of homosexuality, extramarital love, and prostitution. Most profound, however, was the emergence of the idea of free will in Christian dogma, which made all human action, including sexual behavior, accountable to the spiritual, not the physical, world.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


Introduction: From City to Cosmos

  1. The Moralities of Sex in the Roman Empire
  2. The Will and the World in Early Christian Sexuality
  3. Church, Society, and Sex in the Age of Triumph
  4. Revolutionizing Romance in the Late Classical World

Conclusion: Sex and the Twilight of Antiquity






Les impondérables de l’hellénisation

Littérature d’hiérogrammates 

Derchain P., Turnhout: Brepolis, 2000

Table des matières 


I. Les impondérables de l’hellénisation

Les règles du jeu

Un conseiller de la première heure

Le zèle d’un néophyte ?

Un provincial hellénisé à la Cour de Philadelphe

Épigramme pour la mort d’un enfant

Pour finir

II. Littérature d’hiérogrammates

Traduction des témoignages

Éthique de la traduction

L’inscription du conseiller

L’inscription d’Horembeb

Les inscriptions de Sesoucheri

La statue de Qous

La statue de Coptos

L’épigramme de Pétosiris

Annexe : la stèle d’Isemkhetés


III. Textes hiéroglyphiques

Vienne 20 (d’après CAA)

CGC 1230 (D’après Borchardt/Daressy)

BM 1668 (avec l’autorisation gracieuse des Trustees du British Museum)

CGC 70031 (d’après Petrie)

Pétosiris 56 (d’après Lefebvre)


Philosophy and Salvation in Greek Religion

Vishwa Adluri (ed), Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013


Ever since Vlastos’ “Theology and Philosophy in Early Greek Thought,” scholars have known that a consideration of ancient philosophy without attention to its theological, cosmological and soteriological dimensions remains onesided. Yet, philosophers continue to discuss thinkers such as Parmenides and Plato without knowledge of their debt to the archaic religious traditions. Perhaps our own religious prejudices allow us to see only a “polis religion” in Greek religion, while our modern philosophical openness and emphasis on reason induce us to rehabilitate ancient philosophy by what we consider the highest standard of knowledge: proper argumentation. Yet, it is possible to see ancient philosophy as operating according to a different system of meaning, a different “logic.” Such a different sense of logic operates in myth and other narratives, where the argument is neither completely illogical nor rational in the positivist sense. The articles in this volume undertake a critical engagement with this unspoken legacy of Greek religion. The aim of the volume as a whole is to show how, beyond the formalities and fallacies of arguments, something more profound is at stake in ancient philosophy: the salvation of the philosopher-initiate.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Vishwa Adluri – Philosophy, Salvation, and the Mortal Condition

Miguel Herrero de Juregui – Salvation for the Wanderer: Odysseus, the Gold Leaves, and Empedocles

Arbogast Schmitt – Self-Determination and Freedom: The Relationship of God and Man in Homer. Translated by Joydeep Bagchee

Walter Burkert – Parmenides’ Proem and Pythagoras’ Descent. Translated by Joydeep Bagchee

Alberto Bernabé – Ὁ Πλάτων παρωιδεῖ τὰ Ὀρφέως Plato’s Transposition of Orphic Netherworld Imagery

Barbara Sattler – The Eleusinian Mysteries in Pre-Platonic Thought: Metaphor, Practice and Imagery for Plato’s Symposium

Stephen Menn – Plato’s Soteriology ?

Vishwa Adluri & John Lenz – From Politics to Salvation through Philosophy: Herodotus’ Histories and Plato’s Republic

John Bussanich – Rebirth Eschatology in Plato and Plotinus

Luc Brisson – Memory and the Soul’s Destiny in Plotinus. Translated by Michael Chase

Svetla Slaveva-Griffin – Between the Two Realms: Plotinus’ Pure Soul

John Finamore – Iamblichus, Theurgy, and the Soul’s Ascent

About the Contributors


Index of terms


Gnostic Religion in Antiquity

Roelof van den Broek, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013


Gnostic religion is the expression of a religious worldview which is dominated by the concept of Gnosis, an esoteric knowledge of God and the human being which grants salvation to those who possess it. Roelof van den Broek presents here a fresh approach to the gnostic current of Late Antiquity within its historical and religious context, based on sources in Greek, Latin and Coptic, including discussions of the individual works of preserved gnostic literature. Van den Broek explores the various gnostic interpretations of the Christian faith that were current in the second and third centuries, whilst showing that despite its influence on early Christianity, gnostic religion was not a typically Christian phenomenon. This book will be of interest to theologians, historians of religion, students and scholars of the history of Late Antiquity and early Christianity, as well as specialists in ancient gnostic and hermetic traditions.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Preface page vii

List of abbreviations viii

1 Gnosis and gnostic religion 1

2 Gnostic literature I: tradition 13

The Greek tradition 13

The Coptic tradition 16

3 Gnostic literature II: texts 25

Classification 25

Non-gnostic or hardly gnostic writings in gnostic collections 29

The Gospel of Thomas and related texts 37

The Barbelo myth and the gnostic exegesis of Genesis 44

The Barbelo myth and heavenly journeys 71

Valentinian texts 91 Polemical texts 108

Other mythological traditions 116

4 Anti-gnostic literature 126

Irenaeus 126 Hippolytus 129

Epiphanius 132

Plotinus and his pupils 133

5 Gnosis: essence and expressions 136

The gnostic experience 136

God and his world 150

Mankind and its world 168

Salvation 184

6 Backgrounds

206 The quest for the source

206 Greek philosophy (Platonism)

207 Judaism 211

Christianity 220

The spirit of the age 226

Bibliography 232

Index of ancient sources 248

Index of names and subjects 253


Religion in the Ancient Greek City 

Louise Bruit Zaidman , Pauline Schmitt Pantel, Paul Cartledge (trans.), New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000


This book is an English translation of the French work La Religion Grecque. Its purpose is to consider how religious beliefs and cultic rituals were given expression in ancient Greece. The chapters cover first ritual and then myth, rooting the account in the practices of the classical city while also taking seriously the world of the imagination. For this edition the bibliography has been substantially revised to meet the needs of a mainly student, English-speaking readership. The book is enriched throughout by illustrations, and by quotations from original sources.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

List of illustrations

Author’s preface to the English translation

Translator’s introduction

List of sources

PART I – Introduction: How should we study Greek civic religion?

1 – The necessity of cultural estrangement

2 – Some fundamental notions

3 – Sources of evidence

PART II – Cult-practices

4 – Rituals

5 – Religious personnel

6 – Places of cult

7 – Rites of passage

8 – Settings of religious life

9 – Religion and political life

10 – The festival system: the Athenian case

11 – The Panhellenic cults

PART III – Systems for representing the divine

12 – Myths and mythology

13 – A polytheistic religion

14 – Forms of imaginative projection

PART IV – Envoi

15 – Concluding reflections


I – The classical Greek temple

II – The monuments of the Athenian Akropolis




Central European University

Pagans and Christians in the Late Roman Empire

New Evidence, New Approaches (4th-6th Centuries)

Thursday March 7, 2013

CEU Budapest, Nádor utca 9, Popper Room

10:00-10:30 am  Marianne Sághy (Budapest) Welcome and Introductory Remarks: What’s new pagans and Christians? 

10:30-12:30 pm Cities, Sophists, Bishops
Chair:  Rita Lizzi Testa (Perugia)

Josef Rist (Bochum): Conversion in a late antique city: The Life of Bishop Porphyry of Gaza by Mark the Deacon
Raffaella Cribiore (New York): The sophist Libanius as a grey pagan
Wolf Liebeschuetz (Nottingham): A view from Cyrrhus: Theodoret’s ‘Affectionum graecarum curatio’
Samuel Provost (Nancy): Living side by side in a changing urban landscape: Christians, Pagans and Jews in Philippi (4th-6th centuries)

12:30-1:30 lunch break

1:30-3:00 pm  Religion and Philosophy
Chair: Marianne Sághy (Budapest)

Luciana Gabriela Soares Santoprete (Paris): Relations between philosophical and religious traditions at the beginning of the Christian era : two new digital research tools
Róbert Somos (Pécs): Sentences as elements of philosophia moralis: Adaptations of a pagan literary form in the Works of Rufinus of Aquileia
Maël Goarzin (Lausanne): Pagan and Christian biography in late antiquity: On the importance of practical life for pagan and Christian philosophers

3-3:30 Coffee break

3:30-5:00 pm Cohabitation and/or Conversion
Chair: Michele R. Salzman (Riverside)

Zsófia Buzádi-Sallai (Budapest): A pagan who converted and became bishop
Margarita Vallejo-Girvés (Alcalá): Empress Verina among the pagans
Miriam Adan Jones (Amsterdam): Conversion as convergence: Understanding Gregory the Great’s attitude toward pagan and Jewish influences in Anglo-Saxon Christianity

5:30-6:30 pm keynote lecture
CEU,  Budapest, Nádor utca 9, Auditorium

Chair: Wolf Liebeschuetz

Alan Cameron (New York): Were pagans afraid to speak their mind?

7:00 pm Buffet dinner

Friday March 8 CEU Budapest

10:00 -12:00 a.m Parallel sessions

Historical Perceptions
Popper Room

Chair: Hartwin Brandt (Bamberg)

Mar Marcos (Cantabria): Eusebius and Maximinus Daia
Anna Tóth (Budapest):  John Lydus as pagan and Christian
Juana Torres (Cantabria): Rhetoric and historical deformation: Marcus of Arethusa, heretic and martyr
Ecaterina Lung (Bucharest): Religious identity as seen by 6th-century historians and chroniclers

Pagan and Christian Burials
Gellner Room

Chair: Dino Milinovic (Zagreb)

Ivan Basic (Split): From Sepulcrum divi Diocletiani to Ecclesia gloriosae Virginis: New propositions on the Christianisation of Diocletian’s mausoleum in Spalato
Monica Hellström (Providence): Circiform funerary basilicas in Rome in the context of previous burial places
Olivér Gábor (Pécs): Pagan and Christian burial customs in Sopianae
Elizabeth O’Brien (Dublin): Impact beyond the Empire: Burial practices in Ireland (4th – 8th centuries)


Claudia-Maria Behling (Vienna): Pagan garden to Christian paradise: Early Christianity in the eastern Transdanubian Region
Stefanie Hofbauer (Vienna): Finger rings from Antiquity to Christianity

12:00-1:00 pm lunch break

1:00 pm-3:00 pm: Religious Profiling
Popper Room

Chair: Maijastina Kahlos (Helsinki)

Jerome Lagouanère (Paris): The figure of ‘Paganus’ in the Works of Augustine of Hippo
Linda Honey (Calgary): Religious profiling in the Miracles of St. Thekla
Monika Pesthy Simon (Budapest): Martyres versus Pharmakoi
Volker Menze (Budapest): The dark side of holiness: Fear, punishment, death and Barsaumo ‘the Roasted’

3:00 pm-3:30 pm Coffee break

3:30-5:30 Social and Economic Relations – Civic Life
Popper Room

Chair: Josef Rist (Bochum)

Joseph Grzywaczewski (Paris): Sidonius Apollinaris’s pagan vision of Roma bellatrix in Christian Rome
Lucy Grig (Edinburgh): Late antique popular culture and the creation of “paganism”: the Case of the Kalends of January
Sofie Remijsen (Leuven): Christianizing the rhythm of life? Sundays in late antique papyri
Jaclyn Maxwell (Ohio): Social relations and status anxiety across religious divides in late antiquity

5:30 pm-6:00 pm Coffee break

6:00-8:00 pm Pagans, Christians and Material Culture:  Artistic Crossovers
Popper Room

Chair: Lucy Grig (Edinburgh)

Rita Lizzi Testa (Perugia): The Economy of pagan temples and Christian churches
Edward M. Schoolman (Nevada): Religious images and contexts: “Christian” and “pagan” terracotta lamps
Dino Milinović (Zagreb): Pagan, Christian, or “secular”? The problem of the silver plate
Steven D. Smith (New York): Pagan literary mimésis in Christian Constantinople: The devotional epigrams of Agathias’ s Cycle

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pécs/Sopianae, Late Antique Cemetery
Cella Septichora Visitor Center (Pécs, Szent István tér) 

1:00-3:00 pm The Archaeology of Christianisation
Chair: Zsolt Visy (Pécs)

Mustafa Şahin (Bursa): Myndos Rabbit Island (Tavşan Adası): from pagan sanctuary to Christian monastery
Branka Migotti (Zagreb): The cult of Sol Invictus and early Christianity in Southern Pannonia
Hristo Preshlenov (Sofia): Pagans and Christianisation along the South-West Black Sea Coast in the provinces of Scythia, Moesia Secunda and Haemimontos
Roy Flechner (Dublin): Economic change and conversion to Christianity in early medieval Britain and Ireland: consequence or coincidence?

3:00-4:00 pm Coffee break and poster exhibition

Zsolt Visy (Pécs): Sopianae and Valeria in the late Roman period
Levente Nagy (Pécs): Christian objects from Pannonia
István Lovász (Pécs): The northern cemetery of Sopianae in 3D
Marijana Vuković (Budapest/Oslo): Saint Irenaeus of Sirmium
Ferenc Fazekas (Pécs) – Antal Szabó (Paks): “Pagan” and Christian culture in Lussonium
Réka Neményi (Pécs): Early Christian cross-bow brooches
Francesca Diosono (Perugia): Pagani and peasants: the rural site of Villa San Silvestro di Cascia
Alessandra Bravi – Silvia Margutti (Perugia): Transformation of sacred spaces:  Constantinople and the Eastern Empire
Roy Flechner (Dublin): Converting the Isles

4:00-5:00 pm Concluding remarks
Chair: Danielle Slootjes (Nijmegen)

Michele R. Salzman (Riverside)

5:00-6:30 pm The Late Antique Cemetery of Sopianae
with guides Zsolt Visy, Levente Nagy and Olivér Gábor

6:30-7:30 pm closing lecture
Chair: Alan Cameron (New York)

Hartwin Brandt (Bamberg): Constantine and Rome – between pagans and Christians

8:00 pm Dinner
Restaurant Pezsgőház, Pécs, Szent István tér


Johanna Rákos-Zichy:
Andrea-Bianka Znorovszky:

Special thanks to Attila Üveges and the Zsolnay Örökségkezelő Nonprofit Kft. Pécs

(Text by the organizers)

Greek Thought

A Guide to Classical Knowledge

Jacques Brunschwig and Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd (eds), Catherine Porter (trans.), New Jersey: Harvard University Press, 2000


Ancient Greek thought is the essential wellspring from which the intellectual, ethical, and political civilization of the West draws and to which, even today, we repeatedly return. In more than sixty essays by an international team of scholars, this volume explores the full breadth and reach of Greek thought — investigating what the Greeks knew as well as what they thought about what they knew, and what they believed, invented, and understood about the conditions and possibilities of knowing. Calling attention to the characteristic reflexivity of Greek thought, the analysis in this book reminds us of what our own reflections owe to theirs. In sections devoted to philosophy, politics, the pursuit of knowledge, major thinkers, and schools of thought, this work shows us the Greeks looking at themselves, establishing the terms for understanding life, language, production, and action. The authors evoke not history, but the stories the Greeks told themselves about history; not their poetry, but their poetics; not their speeches, but their rhetoric. Essays that survey political, scientific, and philosophical ideas, such as those on Utopia and the Critique of Politics, Observation and Research, and Ethics; others on specific fields from Astronomy and History to Mathematics and Medicine; new perspectives on major figures, from Anaxagoras to Zeno of Elea; studies of core traditions from the Milesians to the various versions of Platonism: together these offer a sense of the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that marked Greek civilization—and that Aristotle considered a natural and universal trait of humankind. With thirty-two pages of color illustrations, this work conveys the splendor and vitality of the Greek intellectual adventure.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Translators’ Note

Introduction: On Home Ground in a Distant Land



The Philosopher

Images of the World

Myth and Knowledge

The Question of Being




The Statesman As Political Actor

Inventing Politics

Utopia and the Critique of Politics

The Sage and Politics

The Pursuit of Knowledge

Schools and Sites of Learning

Observation and Research

Demonstration and the Idea of Science














Theology and Divination

Theories of Religion

Major Figures
























Currents of Thought

The Academy



Hellenism and Christianity

Hellenism and Judaism

The Milesians








Illustration Sources



Ancient Mediterranean Philosophy

An Introduction

Stephen Clark, London: Bloomsbury, 2013


Although the Greeks were responsible for the first systematic philosophy of which we have any record, they were not alone in the Mediterranean world and were happy to draw inspiration from other traditions; traditions that are now largely neglected by philosophers and scholars. This book tells the story of ‘Greek Philosophy’, paying due attention to its historical context and the contributions made by Egyptians, Hebrews, Persians and even barbarians from northern Europe. Stephen Clark provides a narrative history of the philosophical traditions that took shape over several centuries in the Mediterranean world and offers a comprehensive survey of this crucial period in the history of philosophy. The book includes a thorough historical and philosophical overview of all the key thinkers, events and ideas that characterized the period and explores in detail central themes such as the contest of gods and giants, the contrast between the reality and appearance, and the idea of the philosopher. Ideal for undergraduate students, this concise and accessible book provides a comprehensive guide to a fascinating period in the history of philosophy.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents




1. Beginnings

2. Influence from Outside

3. Inspired Thinkers

4. Travellers and Stay-at-Homes

5. Divine Plato

6. The Aristotelian Synthesis

7. Living the Philosophical Life

8. Ordinary and Supernatural Lives

9. Late Antiquity

10. An End and a Beginning


Recommended Reading

Works Cited