19 Carl Rogers Prepositions and Examples

SBL proposal Greco-Roman Religions Section

Abstracts Themed Session: ‘Mythmaking, Fictionalising, Entextualising: Creative Moments in Graeco-Roman Religious Reality.’

Gerhard van den Heever (University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)
Myth, Fiction, Text: Reading ‘Religion’ Between the Lines.

Invoking myth, inventing tradition, and entextualizing/authorizing tradition are age-old technologies for producing authority and replicating hierarchies of ‘power-dissipations’. This paper argues that these are related operations that, as an ensemble, construct what is called ‘religious tradition’. Drawing on a range of theorists, from Bruce Lincoln to Eric Hobsbawm and Fredric Jameson, it is demonstrated how myths of creation and the consequent procession (or issuing) of gods are recontextualized in various ‘religious’ contexts with a view to establishing authority and power-hierarchies. Particular attention is paid to the Isis/Osiris-Dionysus complex spanning the period from Hellenistic Ptolemaic Egypt to Late Antiquity, traversing discursive genres such as large-scale performances and mime, to philosophical discourse, novelistic fiction and epic poetry (i.e., from Ptolemy II Philadelphos to Nonnos), and highlighting the persistence of the topos of arrival of gods/divine mediating agency even in such seemingly ‘independent’ traditions as early Judaisms and early Christianities with their simultaneous anchoring of the discourse of arrival of divine mediating agency in illo tempore and in historical circumstance. This paper is about the recalibration of myth, the textualization of invented tradition, and the resultant establishment of authoritative discursive formations. Description of Graeco-Roman mythic invention through comparative work in this vein, also answers the theoretical question: What is myth good for?

Nancy Evans (Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts)
From Mad Ritual to Philosophical Inquiry: Ancient and Modern Fictions of Continuity and...