Resource Reviews: Mediterranean and Greek ReligionJanuary 20, 2011
Jenkins treats mythology and religion in the same chapter, but the works I will discuss below are rather different from the mythology dictionaries I have highlighted thus far, in several posts (LIMC, mythology web sites, basic print mythology dictionaries, and specialized mythology dictionaries). They take a more wide-ranging view of ancient religion, encompassing cult, belief, ritual, and more. Today I’ll cover a general work and then some basic resources on Greek religion.
Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (2004). Main Library 6th floor, BL687 .R47 2004
This is categorized as a reference work – I’d call it an encyclopedia – but it could also be used as a textbook for a general class on religion in the ancient world (where that is defined as the Near East and Mediterranean). It’s listed at only $40 at Amazon, so it’s affordable enough to use for a textbook, too. The books falls in three parts: the first on big topics like “what is ancient religion,” mythology, and cosmology; the second on the religions of specific cultures (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Etruria, etc.); and the third on cross-cultural takes on topics like divination, sacrifice, and sacred time and space. Each essay has a short bibliography. Jenkins (no. 912) notes that the “approach to the whole Mediterranean as a region of interrelated cultures that were constantly interacting is a great strength.”
Burkert, Greek Religion (1985). Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .B8313 1985b
You’ve probably read it, if you read this blog. It’s not really a reference work, but like a good reference work provides an excellent overview of all sorts of sub-topics and includes a bibliography; it’s frequently used as a textbook. Jenkins (no. 900) rightly calls it “the standard work in English on ancient Greek religion.”
Bremmer, Greek Religion (1994). Main Library 3rd floor, PA25 .G7 no. 24
This is a bibliographic survey of the topic, with a focus on (then-current) work. Jenkins (no. 886) praises the index especially.
Motte, Mentor: Guide bibliographique de la religion grecque Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .M46 1992 and Mentor 2, Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .M46 1998
These are annotated bibliographies; Jenkins (no. 887-888) calls them “substantial” and notes that they both “summarize and evaluate.” The first volume covers work published through 1985; the second, 1986-1990; between them, some 3370 scholarly works are listed. Unfortunately “access by subject is generally inadequate” although this is a more extensive work than Bremmer’s.
All of the 337 works classified by the UGA Libraries under the subject heading Greece — Religion can be perused in the catalog.