By Sarah Iles Johnston
The 1st English-language survey of historic Greek divinatory equipment, old Greek Divination deals a extensive but special therapy of the earliest makes an attempt through old Greeks to hunt the tips of the gods.
- Offers in-depth discussions of oracles, wandering diviners, home made tools of foretelling the long run, magical divinatory options, and lots more and plenty extra
- Illustrates how the research of divination illuminates the mentalities of historic Greek religions and societies
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The scholars whom he invited to contribute certainly heeded his call, and, although the amount of work on divination continued to be meager for a long time, those who came later heeded his call as well. Robert Parker’s examination of the Delphic Oracle, for example, took up the question of oracular authority and suggested that the interpretive process that followed an oracle’s delivery often transferred authority from the god who had spoken the oracle to those who received his words (1985). Giovanni Manetti used semiotic theory to approach ancient Greek and Mesopotamian divinatory systems, and in doing so demonstrated that very different divinatory mentalities underlay the two cultures, which in turn reflected the importance of written and oral methods of communication in each of them (1987).
Schmidt, Leigh Eric. Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion and the American Enlightenment (Cambridge MA 2000). The ancient discussions Burkert, Walter. “Mantik in Griechenland,” in Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum III (Los Angeles 2005). Graf, Fritz. , The Metamorphosis of Magic from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period (Leuven 2002) 87–104. A. Greeks on Dreams (Utrecht 1980). Miller, Patricia Cox. Dreams in Late Antiquity: Studies in the Imagination of a Culture (Princeton 1994). Pease, Arthur Stanley, comm.
The rest of this book, therefore, is divided in half. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on institutional oracles, starting with Delphi and Dodona and then moving on to Claros, Didyma and some others. qxd 19/5/08 11:43 AM Page 29 Why Divination? 29 sources and Chapter 5 focusing on a type of mantis whom we often call a magician – one of the experts who, during the imperial period, composed the extensive collections of spells known now as the magical papyri. Many of these spells are divinatory in nature, and they provide detailed information on how divinatory procedures might be carried out by an independent specialist.