Death in the Eastern Mediterranean (50 - 600 A.D.)
The Christianization of the East: An Interpretation

By Antigone Samellas
December 2001
J.C.B. Mohr
ISBN: 3161476689
400 pages
$127.50 paper original

Antigone Samellas examines the modes of reception of Jesus' message of salvation. She explores the Greek and Jewish influence on Christian eschatology and traces the Hellenistic roots of Christian consolation philosophy. The author examines Christianity as a 'total therapy of grief' and highlights the differences that existed between the religious cures and the Hellenistic philosophical therapies. To gain a better understanding of the process of conversion to the new faith Antigone Samellas also investigates which aspects of Christianity were appealing and which repugnant in the eyes of pagans and Jews. Finally, she attempts to convey something of the wisdom of the East, in all its cultural and religious nuances, to the modern reader.

Contents include:
50-600. An Era without Eschatological Anxieties - The Serene Look of the Polytheists at the Hereafter - Resurrection of the Body: An Absurd Idea, an Inextricable Philosophical Problem, a Variously-Interpreted Dogma Philosophers and Bishops as Physicians of the Soul - Pagan and Christian Arguments against the Practice of Ritual Lament - Rival but Similar Therapies of Grief: the Philosophical and Christian Logos The Impact of Christianity on Monumental Commemoration - The Christianization of the Epigraphic Language - From Ancient to Christian ‘Likeness’: The Eclipse of the Sculpted Funerary Portrait in its Intellectual and Historical Context Putrid Corpses and Fragrant Relics: Attitudes towards the Pollution of the Dead among Pagans, Jews and Christians.

Intellectual and Emotional Origins of a Tactile Revolution - The Sacralization of Death Functions of the Funerary and Commemorative Rituals in the Eastern Mediterranean (50-600) - The Ideological Function of Ritual - The Honorific Function of Ritual - The Solidaristic and Affective Functions of Ritual - The Originality of the Christian Organization of Burial: The Use of Ritual as a Means of Forging a Separate Religious Identity The Burial of the Poor: Forces that Propel and Forces that Hinder the Development of a Christian ‘Welfare State’ in Late Antiquity - Theology, Heresy and Social Welfare - Structural Weaknesses of the Christian ‘Welfare State’ The ‘Longue-Durée’ Pleasures of Death - Feasting with the Dead - A Grave-Side Theatre

Studien und Text zu Antike und Christentum

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