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

Paperback | March 15, 2015

byF. S. Naiden

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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 ofJean-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 offeredto 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 thatit 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 newpicture of ancient Greek animal sacrifice and of the religion of which sacrifice was a part.

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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 ofJean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne. These writers...

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

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:442 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.1 inPublished:March 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190232714

ISBN - 13:9780190232719

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Table of Contents

PrefaceSpelling and AbbreviationsList of Figures1. The Invention of a Ritual2. Venues and Offerings3. Prayers and Answers4. God Says No5. Rules, Rewards, and Experts6. Markets and Messes7. A Detective Story8. The Demise of a RitualAppendix AAppendix BBibliographyIndex LocorumIndex VerborumIndex NominumIndex Rerum

Editorial Reviews

"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