The Myth of Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity by Stephanie Lynn BudinThe Myth of Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity by Stephanie Lynn Budin

The Myth of Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity

byStephanie Lynn Budin

Hardcover | January 14, 2008

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In this study, Stephanie Budin demonstrates that sacred prostitution, the sale of a person's body for sex in which some or all of the money earned was devoted to a deity or a temple, did not exist in the ancient world. Reconsidering the evidence from the ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman texts, and the Early Christian authors, Budin shows that the majority of sources that have traditionally been understood as pertaining to sacred prostitution actually have nothing to do with this institution. The few texts that are usually invoked on this subject are, moreover, terribly misunderstood. Furthermore, contrary to many current hypotheses, the creation of the myth of sacred prostitution has nothing to do with notions of accusation or the construction of a decadent, Oriental "Other." Instead, the myth has come into being as a result of more than 2,000 years of misinterpretations, false assumptions, and faulty methodology. The study of sacred prostitution is, effectively, a historiographical reckoning.
Stephanie Budin received her PhD in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in Greece and the Ancient Near East. She studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens as a Pennfield Fellow and the following year she continued her studies both there and at the Albright Institute of Archaeologi...
Title:The Myth of Sacred Prostitution in AntiquityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.98 inPublished:January 14, 2008Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521880904

ISBN - 13:9780521880909


Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The ancient Near Eastern data; 3. The so-called 'evidence'; 4. Herodotos; 5. In the footsteps of Herodotos: Lucian and 'Jeremiah'; 6. Pindar Fragment 122; 7. Strabo, confused and misunderstood; 8. Klearkhos, Justinus, and Valerius Maximus; 9. Archaeological 'evidence' from Italy; 10. The early Christian rhetoric; 11. Last myths.

Editorial Reviews

"B. has written a thought-provoking book that forces the reader to rethink the institution of sacred prostitution and even historical method more generally. She collects together and analysis in context all references associated with sacred prostitution, making the book essential reading on the topic. In general, she is convincing in her conclusion that sacred prostitution has no historical authority and that scholars have wrongfully manipulated evidence to support such an institution. Since the belief in sacred prostitution has in many ways impeded the study of prostitution more generally, particularly at Corinth, this conclusion is to be welcomed." --Classical Review