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Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age [Paperback]

By Antonia Tripolitis (Author)
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Item description for Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age by Antonia Tripolitis...

This insightful read traces the development of the principal Western religions and their philosophical counterparts from the beginnings of Alexander the Great's empire in 331 B.C.E. to the emergence of the Christian world in the fourth century C.E.

Publishers Description
Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age is a superb introduction to the principal Western religions and their philosophical counterparts from the beginnings of Alexander the Great's empire in 331 B.C.E. to the emergence of the Christian world in the fourth century C. E. Anton?a Tripolitis, a noted scholar of Late Antiquity, examines the rise of the Hellenistic-Roman world and presents a comprehensive overview of its beliefs and practices, their socio-psychological and historical development, and the reasons for their success or failure. Her work explores Mithraism, Hellenistic Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and the philosophies of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Middle Platonism. It also includes a review of the principal mystery cults, Demeter in Eleusis, Dionysus, Isis, and Cybele or Magna Mater. Based on the most reliable and up-to-date research on the ancient world, this volume is valuable both as a general guide to ancient Western religion and as essential background reading for the study of early Christianity.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age by Antonia Tripolitis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Reference and Research Bk News - 02/01/2002 page 11
  • Choice - 06/01/2002 page 1788

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   165
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.58"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 30, 2001
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  080284913X  
ISBN13  9780802849137  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Antonia Tripolitis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tripolitis is Professor of Late Antiquity at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Antonia Tripolitis was born in 1934.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Religions > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome
4Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Education (K-12) > Social Science > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age?

Great way to put early Christianity into perspective  Apr 19, 2008
An excellent introduction, concise but with lots of details.

Enough about key mystery cults (of Demeter, Dionysius, Isis, Cybele, and especially Mithra), religious philosophies (Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Middle Platonism) and Hellenic Platonism to put early Christianity into good perspective.

The 7-page summary reinforces the full (but itself only 142 page) presentation. If Tripolitis did not know this subject so well, I see no way she could have written such a fine summary (nor the entire book).

A 9-page bibliography, organized to follow the book's chapters, may help you to follow up if you want to plunge down into any topic that book has introduced.
A fine introduction to the Hellenistic-Roman Age  Feb 17, 2008
I had to read this book in my curriculum, but the subject is something I'm greatly interested in, so I looked forward to reading it. It turned out to be a fine short introduction to the subject, namely, the religions of the Mediterranean mainly during the latter phase of the Roman Empire. The text itself punches in at exactly 150 pages, so it is quite a short read. The book is divided into five parts; "The Hellenistic-Roman World" (The Mystery Cults), "Mithraism", "Hellenistic Judaism", "Christianity" and "Gnosticism". Being the short book that it is, it is naturally limited how deep the author delves into the various subjects, but it serves adequately as a decent introduction to the subject.

I was somewhat disappointed though, since well over half the book deals mainly in Christian and Judaist issues. The various Gentile religious movements are very quickly mentioned, and the main emphasis is on the offspring of Jewish thought. Every religion mentioned is summarized and its birth and downfall, or eventual success is told of. Even though it is a good book, the author has some flaws that are quite annoying. For example, she is quite subjective when writing about non-Abrahamic religions, being quite condemning in her portrayal. She portrays them negatively for not being open to every plebeian or foreigner, but incidentally forgets to mention that Judaism is a racialist religion, even though she clearly is aware of it.

All in all a fine book, but I wish she could have been more objective and also put some more weight into the non-Abrahamic religions, which one would think is the main emphasis of the book, given it's title and cover.
A Good Overview  Oct 3, 2007
This book provides a good introduction to the diverse and bewildering world of Hellenistic-Roman religion. The treatment of each movement is sympathetic and non-polemical. The section on Gnosticism is of particularly valuable, because it gives a fair and open treatment of the various Gnostic groups while avoiding the exaggerations that are common in popular level writings on the subject. I would highly recommend it for those who are interested in studying the context of early Christianity. It is accessible to the average reader, and has enough scholarly rigor to serve a college student or first-year seminary student well.

I would only list two flaws. First, some of the descriptions of the mystery cults are portrayed so strongly from the perspective of its practitioners that it almost posits three different universal gods or goddesses of the masses. Secondly, I almost wonder if the author is trying too hard to make the ancient world into a reflection of our own pluralistic, globalizing, and angst-ridden times.
Great Introduction to the subject.  May 12, 2007
Begin reading up on the religions of the Greco-Roman times roughly parallel with the new testament. This book is a good concise intro to the subject. Covers some of the more well known greco-roman mystery religions, as well as Judaism and Early Christianity. The author is a professor of late antiquity as well as Greek studies. For a more thorough work, consult the larger tome, Backgrounds To Early Christianity by Everett Ferguson, or especially look to Religions of The Ancient World by Sarah Iles Johnston.
adding only  May 20, 2003
I would like to add to the two reviews written earlier, only that this work makes available for introductory students an intelligent skimming of the surface of religions of the Hellenistic-Roman period. This period description is crucial as it refers not exclusively to the traditional span of the Hellenistic Age from 323 B.C.E. to 31 B.C.E., but from the death of Alexander the Great to the fourth century of the common era. This recalibration nearly doubles the space under review and as a result allows or requires that most of the book addresses the early Jewish diaspora and the early Christian religion.

The author handles each religion or way of life relatively well, clarifying with polish and style the major characteristics, rituals and contexts of the belief systems. New ideas are not the order of business here, instead this concise summary fills a need.

Approximately thirty pages cover all of the "mystery cults" (Isis, Magna Mater, Dionysus, Demeter), with a separate chapter given to Mithraism. What I mean to suggest is that the gross majority of the work summarizes the information available about the beginnings of religions that remain, however changed, not those earlier religions of the Mediterranean that have disappeared. For me the lack of attention to the religions of the Greek and Roman landscapes proved a disappointment, but the book is of exemplary quality as it is for what it is.

A final note: the maps are truly outstanding.


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