The Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Greco-Roman Near East

The Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Greco-Roman Near East

Javier Teixidor
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x140z
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  • Book Info
    The Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Greco-Roman Near East
    Book Description:

    Javier Teixidor has found evidence that belief in a supreme god developed during the first millennium B.C. The Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions he discusses indicate a trend toward monotheism that facilitated the spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The author concludes that the traditional characteristics of the popular religions were preserved during this period and that the Hellenistic culture and the mystery cults did not have a significant effect on popular piety. Here, then, is a major reinterpretation of the religious life of the Near East in the Greco-Roman period based on a reliable source of information.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7139-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. ONE POPULAR RELIGION IN THE GRECO-ROMAN NEAR EAST
    (pp. 3-17)

    To say that history interprets the past means that the scientific methods used by the historian—and not only the conclusions he has reached in his research—will be revised periodically because each era has its own way of writing history. The historian, while writing, changes emphases because fashions of thinking also change. This is particularly true in the study of ancient civilizations, for ancient texts and monuments—or relics of them—can portray only a small portion of the civilization in which those texts and monuments were produced, and this partial knowledge of the historical truth can be suddenly...

  6. TWO PHOENICIAN AND SYRIAN DEITIES
    (pp. 19-60)

    Herodotus and Thucydides present the Phoenicians as a well-defined ethnic group, but so does theIliada few centuries earlier. The Homeric epic identifies Phoenicians and Sidonians and describes them as craftsmen and navigators: “At once the son of Peleus set out prizes for the foot-race: / a mixing-bowl of silver, a work of art, which held only / six measures, but for its loveliness it surpassed all others / on earth by far, since skilled Sidonian craftsmen had wrought it / well, and Phoenicians carried it over the misty face of the water / and set it in the...

  7. THREE DEITIES OF NORTH ARABIA
    (pp. 62-99)

    During the last four centuries of the first millennium B.C. the lands of the Near East were densely populated by Arab tribes. They had infiltrated into those areas, carrying much of their nomadic tradition. At the time of these new immigrations Hellenization was taking place in Syria, and the Phoenician cities began to be reorganized as Hellenic poleis. This simultaneous presence of two disparate cultures—Arab and Greek—blended rapidly into a new culture, to which the previous local traditions gave an adequate frame. It is understandable that the history of such a complex process should be incompletely known and...

  8. FOUR THE SUPREME GOD OF PALMYRA
    (pp. 100-142)

    Palmyra is in the center of an oasis on the northwest edge of the Arabian Desert. The site is culturally and economically linked to the main Syrian areas: the plain of the Hauran, Damascus, Homs (ancient Emesa), Hama, and Aleppo. Since ancient times Palmyra has maintained close relations with settlements lying on the Euphrates River between the modern towns of Deir ez-Zôr and Hit. Ancient Palmyra lived by trade; consequently, her market was open to all kinds of commodities from Babylon, the Persian Gulf, and Arabia. The ancient Tariff of Palmyra established the taxes to be levied on the import...

  9. FIVE PAGAN RELIGIOSITY
    (pp. 143-164)

    The religious beliefs expressed in hundreds of Semitic inscriptions from the Persian and Greco-Roman periods put forward no theological dogma, nor do they help students of the history of religion reconstruct the myths of the origins of the world that the Palmyrenes accepted. Also missing is a body of ethical principles. The inscriptions usually are nothing but bare acts of faith in the divine providence, and as such they constitute a genuine expression of the daily life of the Semites with whom they originated. But the lack of theological information is a distressing fact for the historian.

    Since no corpus...

  10. ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND LITERARY SOURCES
    (pp. 165-174)
  11. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 175-192)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-193)