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Gender and Judaism from the Hebrew Bible to Late Antiquity
The status of women in the ancient Judaism of the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic texts has long been a contested issue. What does being a Jewess entail in antiquity? Men in ancient Jewish culture are defined primarily by what duties they are expected to perform, the course of action that they take. The Jewess, in contrast, is bound by stricture.
Writing on the formation and transformation of the ideology of female Jewishness in the ancient world, Zlotnick places her treatment in a broad, comparative, Mediterranean context, bringing in parallels from Greek and Roman sources. Drawing on episodes from the Hebrew Bible and on Midrashic, Mishnaic, and Talmudic texts, she pays particular attention to the ways in which they attempt to determine the boundaries of communal affiliation through real and perceived differences between Israelites, or Jews, on one hand and non-Israelites, or Gentiles, on the other.
Women are often associated in the sources with the forbidden, and foreign women are endowed with a curious freedom of action and choice that is hardly ever shared by their Jewish counterparts. Delilah, for instance, is one of the most autonomous women in the Bible, appearing without patronymic or family ties. She also brings disaster. Dinah, the Jewess, by contrast, becomes an agent of self-destruction when she goes out to mingle with gentile female friends. In ancient Judaism the lessons of such tales were applied as rules to sustain membership in the family, the clan, and the community.
While Zlotnick's central project is to untangle the challenges of sex, gender, and the formation of national identity in antiquity, her book is also a remarkable study of intertextual relations within the Jewish literary tradition.
Greek History, 480-431 BC--the Alternative Version
A new English translation of Diodorus' history of the Greek world during the Periclean era, and an iconoclastic reappraisal of this undervalued historian by one of the world's leading Classicists.
Books 11-14.34 (480-401 BCE)
By one of the foremost historians and translators in the field of Classics, Peter Green—an authoritative, modern translation of a long-neglected historian whose work covers the most vital century in ancient Greek history.
The first-century Roman tragedies of Seneca, like all ancient drama, do not contain the sort of external stage directions that we are accustomed to today; nevertheless, a careful reading of the plays reveals such stage business as entrances, exits, setting, sound effects, emotions of the characters, etc. The Dramaturgy of Senecan Tragedy teases out these dramaturgical elements in Seneca's work and uses them both to aid in the interpretation of the plays and to show the playwright's artistry. Thomas D. Kohn provides a detailed overview of the corpus, laying the groundwork for appreciating Seneca's techniques in the individual dramas. Each of the chapters explores an individual tragedy in detail, discussing the dramatis personae and examining how the roles would be distributed among a limited number of actors, as well as the identity of the Chorus. The Dramaturgy of Senecan Tragedy makes a compelling argument for Seneca as an artist and a dramaturg in the true sense of the word: "a maker of drama." Regardless of whether Seneca composed his plays for full-blown theatrical staging, a fictive theater of the mind, or something in between, Kohn demonstrates that he displays a consistency and a careful attentiveness to details of performance. While other scholars have applied this type of performance criticism to individual tragedies or scenes, this is the first comprehensive study of all the plays in twenty-five years, and the first ever to consider not just stagecraft, but also metatheatrical issues such as the significant distribution of roles among a limited number of actors, in addition to the emotional states of the characters. Scholars of classics and theater, along with those looking to stage the plays, will find much of interest in this study.
A Character Sketch
"A vibrant account that puts flesh on the bare bones of early Roman history." ---Celia Schultz, University of Michigan The ancient Romans' story down to 264 B.C. can be made credible by stripping away their later myths and inventions to show how their national character shaped their destiny. After many generations of scholarly study, consensus is clear: the account in writers like Livy is not to be trusted because their aims were different from ours in history-writing. They wanted their work to be both improving and diverting. It should grow out of the real past, yes, but if that reality couldn't be recovered, or was uncertain, their art did not forbid invention. It more than tolerated dramatic incidents, passions, heroes, heroines, and villains. If, however, all this resulting ancient fiction and adornment are pruned away, a national character can be seen in the remaining bits and pieces of credible information, to explain the familiar story at least in its outlines. To doubt the written sources has long been acceptable, but this or that detail or narrative section must always be left for salvage by special pleading. To press home the logic of doubt is new. To reach beyond the written sources for a better support in excavated evidence is no novelty; but it is a novelty, to find in archeology the principal substance of the narrative---which is the choice in this book. To use this in turn for the discovery of an ethnic personality, a Roman national character, is key and also novel. What is repeatedly illustrated and emphasized here is the distance traveled by the art or craft of understanding the past---"history" in that sense---over the course of the last couple of centuries. The art cannot be learned, because it cannot be found, through studying Livy and Company. Readers who care about either of the two disciplines contrasted, Classics and History, may find this argument of interest. "Like Thucydides of the hyperactive Athenians and de Tocqueville of the nation-building Americans, MacMullen here draws a character sketch of the early Romans---the men who built Rome, conquered Italy, and created an empire. Based on profound familiarity with history, evidence, and their better-known descendants, attention to what they did and failed to do, remarkable insight, empathy, constructive imagination, and not without humor, he reconstructs the homo Romanus and thus helps us imagine what he was like, and understand why he achieved what he did. This little book is informative, full of important ideas, and delightful to read." ---Kurt Raaflaub, Brown University Jacket image: Marcus Fabius and Quintus Tannius. Fresco. Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy. Courtesy of Scala / Art Resource, NY..
A Study of Social History and the Brothel
In recent years, a number of classical scholars have turned their attention to prostitution in the ancient world. Close examination of the social and legal position of Roman meretrices and Greek hetairai have enriched our understanding of ancient sexual relationships and the status of women in these societies. These studies have focused, however, almost exclusively on the legal and literary evidence. McGinn approaches the issues from a new direction, by studying the physical venues that existed for the sale of sex, in the context of the Roman economy. Combining textual and material evidence, he provides a detailed study of Roman brothels and other venues of venal sex (from imperial palaces and privates houses to taverns, circuses, and back alleys) focusing on their forms, functions, and urban locations. The book covers the central period of Roman history, roughly from 200 B.C. to A.D. 250. It will especially interest social and legal historians of the ancient world, and students of gender, sexuality, and the family. Thomas A. J. McGinn is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University.
From the Archaic Period to the Early Roman Empire
The Economy of the Greek Cities offers readers a clear and concise overview of ancient Greek economies from the archaic to the Roman period. Léopold Migeotte approaches Greek economic activities from the perspective of the ancient sources, situating them within the context of the city-state (polis). He illuminates the ways citizens intervened in the economy and considers such important sectors as agriculture, craft industries, public works, and trade. Focusing on how the private and public spheres impinged on each other, this book provides a broad understanding of the political and economic changes affecting life in the Greek city-states over a thousand-year period.
Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronius
In The Empire of the Self, Christopher Star studies the question of how political reality affects the concepts of body, soul, and self. Star argues that during the early Roman Empire the establishment of autocracy and the development of a universal ideal of individual autonomy were mutually enhancing phenomena. The Stoic ideal of individual empire or complete self-command is a major theme of Seneca’s philosophical works. The problematic consequences of this ideal are explored in Seneca’s dramatic and satirical works, as well as in the novel of his contemporary, Petronius. Star examines the rhetorical links between these diverse texts and demonstrates how the idea that imperial speech structures and reveals the self represents a significant point of contact between two writers generally thought to be antagonists.
Political by its very nature, Greek tragedy reflects on how life should be lived in the polis, and especially the polis that was democratic Athens. Instructional as well, drama frequently concerns itself with the audience's moral education. Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians draws on these political and didactic functions of tragedy for a close analysis of five plays: Alcestis, Hippolytus, Hecuba, Heracles, and Trojan Women. Clearly written and persuasively argued, this volume addresses itself to all who are interested in Greek tragedy. Nonspecialists and scholars alike will deepen their understanding of this complex writer and the tumultuous period in which he lived. ". . . a lucid presentation of the positive side of Euripidean tragedy, and a thoughtful reminder of the political implications of Greek tragedy." --American Journal of Philology ". . . the principal defect of [this] otherwise excellent study is that it is too short." --Erich Segal, Classical Review ". . . a most stimulating book throughout . . . ." --Greece and Rome Justina Gregory is Professor of Classics, Smith College, where she is head of the department. She has been the recipient of Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson fellowships.
Augustine, bishop of Hippo between 395 and 430, and his fellow bishops lived and worked through massive shifts in politics, society, and religion. Christian bishops were frequently asked to serve as intellectuals, legislators, judges, and pastors—roles and responsibilities that often conflicted with one another and made it difficult for bishops to be effective leaders. Expectations of Justice in the Age of Augustine examines these roles and the ways bishops struggled to fulfill (or failed to fulfill) them, as well as the philosophical conclusions they drew from their experience in everyday affairs, such as oath-swearing, and in the administration of penance.
Augustine and his near contemporaries were no more or less successful at handling the administration of justice than other late antique or early medieval officials. When bishops served in judicial capacities, they experienced firsthand the complex inner workings of legal procedures and social conflicts, as well as the fallibility of human communities. Bishops represented divine justice while simultaneously engaging in and even presiding over the sorts of activities that animated society—business deals, litigations, gossip, and violence—but also made justice hard to come by.
Kevin Uhalde argues that serving as judges, even informally, compelled bishops to question whether anyone could be guaranteed justice on earth, even from the leaders of the Christian church. As a result, their ideals of divine justice fundamentally changed in order to accommodate the unpleasant reality of worldly justice and its failings. This philosophical shift resonated in Christian thought and life for centuries afterward and directly affected religious life, from the performance of penance to the way people conceived of the Final Judgment.