Sharing with the Gods: Aparchai and Dekatai in Ancient Greece

Hardcover | August 10, 2014

byTheodora Suk Fong Jim

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Sharing with the Gods examines one of the most ubiquitous yet little studied aspects of ancient Greek religion, the offering of so-called "first-fruits" (aparchai) and 'tithes' (dekatai), from the Archaic period to the Hellenistic. While most existing studies of Greek religion tend to focus onritual performance, this volume investigates questions of religious belief and mentality: why the Greeks presented these gifts to the gods, and what their behaviour tells us about their religious world-view, presuppositions, and perception of the gods. Exploiting an array of ancient sources, theauthor assesses the diverse nature of aparchai and dekatai, the complexity of the motivations underlying them, the role of individuals in shaping tradition, the deployment of this religious custom in politics, and the transformation of a voluntary practice into a religious obligation.By synthesizing a century of scholarship on "first-fruits" practices in Greek and other religious cultures, the author challenges prevailing interpretations of gift-exchange with the gods in terms of do ut des and da ut dem, which emphasize the reciprocal, obligatory, and sometimes commercialaspects of the gift, and explores hitherto neglected notions including gratitude and thanksgiving. Drawing on current approaches to gift-giving in anthropology, sociology, and economics, in particular the French anthropologist Godelier's idea of 'debt', the volume offers new perspectives with whichto conceptualize human-divine relations, and challenges traditional views of the nature of gift-giving between men and gods in Greek religion.

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Sharing with the Gods examines one of the most ubiquitous yet little studied aspects of ancient Greek religion, the offering of so-called "first-fruits" (aparchai) and 'tithes' (dekatai), from the Archaic period to the Hellenistic. While most existing studies of Greek religion tend to focus onritual performance, this volume investigate...

Theodora Jim finished her doctorate at the University of Oxford (2008/9 - 2010/11), was a Research Scholar at the University of Hong Kong (2011/12 - 2012/13), and is currently a Faculty Academic Fellow in History at the University of Lancaster (2013-).
Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:August 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198706820

ISBN - 13:9780198706823

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of IllustrationsConventions and AbbreviationsIntroduction: A History of 'First Fruits'1. The Vocabulary of Aparche, Aparchesthai, and Related Terms2. Religious Mentality in First Offerings3. Agricultural First Offerings4. First Offerings at Meals5. Private Dedications6. Military First Offerings7. A Network of Aparchai: Religion, Politics, and Power8. A/eparchai and Dekatai in Cult FinanceConclusionAppendix: Human First Offerings in ColonizationBibliographyIndices