Plutarch’s Religious Landscapes

Rainer Hirsch-Luipold and Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta (eds.), Leyde : Brill, 2021


A Platonist philosopher and priest of Apollo at Delphi, Plutarch (ca. 45-120 CE) covers in his vast oeuvre of miscellaneous writings and biographies of great men virtually every aspect of ancient religion, Greek, Roman, Jewish, Egyptian, Persian. This collection of essays takes the reader on a hike through Plutarch’s Religious Landscapes offering as a compass the philosopher’s considerations on issues of philosophical theology, cult, ethics, politics, natural sciences, hermeneutics, atheism, and life after death. Plutarch provides a unique vantage point to reconstruct and understand many of the interesting developments that were taking in the philosophical and religious world of the first centuries CE.

Table of contents


Part 1 An Introductory Survey of Plutarch’s Religious Landscape

Chapter 1 Religions, Religion, and Theology in Plutarch

Part 2 Plutarch’s Theology, Notion of Religion, and Ethics

Chapter 2 Deaf to the Gods: Atheism in Plutarch’s De superstitione

Chapter 3 Plutarch on the Platonic Synthesis: A Synthesis

Chapter 4 Plutarch’s Monotheism and the God of Mathematics

Chapter 5 Plutarch’s Theonomous Ethics and Christianity: A Few Thoughts on a Much-Discussed Problem

Chapter 6 An End in Itself, or a Means to an End? The Role of Ethics in the Second Century: Plutarch’s Moralia and the Nag Hammadi Writings

Chapter 7 Reincarnation and Other Experiences of the Soul in Plutarch’s De facie: Two Case Studies

Chapter 8 The Conception of the Last Steps towards Salvation Revisited: The Telos of the Soul in Plutarch and Its Context

Chapter 9 Gods, Impiety and Pollution in the Life and Death of Phocion

Chapter 10 The Religiosity of (Greek and Roman) στρατηγοί

Chapter 11 La valeur de la tolma dans les Moralia de Plutarque

Part 3 Plutarch’s Testimony of Ancient Religion

Chapter 12 The Religious Landscape of Plutarch’s Quaestiones Graecae

Chapter 13 Human Sacrifices: Can They Be Justified?

Chapter 14 The Conception of the Goddess Hecate in Plutarch

Chapter 15 Plutarch and the Ambiguity of the God Dionysus

Chapter 16 Interpretations of Dionysus Ἰσοδαίτης in an Orphic Ritual (Plutarch, De E apud Delphos 389A)

Chapter 17 The Epiphany of Dionysus in Elis and the Miracle of the Wine (Plutarch, Quaestiones Graecae 299 B)

Chapter 18 Divination in Plutarch’s Life of Cicero

Part 4 Some Glimpses of the Reception of Plutarch’s Religion

Chapter 19 The Reception of Plutarch’s Universe

Chapter 20 Les daimons de Plutarque et leur réception dans la Renaissance française

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