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The Myth of Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity
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Stephanie Budin demonstrates that sacred prostitution, the sale of a person's body for sex in which some or all of the money earned was devoted to a deity or a temple, did not exist in the ancient world. Reconsidering the evidence from the ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman texts, and the early Christian authors, Budin shows that the majority of sources that have traditionally been understood as pertaining to sacred prostitution actually have nothing to do with this institution. The few texts that are usually invoked on this subject are, moreover, terribly misunderstood. Contrary to many current hypotheses, the creation of the myth of sacred prostitution has nothing to do with notions of accusation or the construction of a decadent, Oriental 'Other'. Instead, the myth has come into being as a result of more than 2,000 years of misinterpretations, false assumptions, and faulty methodology.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The ancient Near Eastern data; 3. The so-called 'evidence'; 4. Herodotos; 5. In the footsteps of Herodotos: Lucian and 'Jeremiah'; 6. Pindar Fragment 122; 7. Strabo, confused and misunderstood; 8. Klearkhos, Justinus, and Valerius Maximus; 9. Archaeological 'evidence' from Italy; 10. The early Christian rhetoric; 11. Last myths.

About the Author

Stephanie Lynn Budin received her Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in Greece and the ancient Near East. She is the author of The Origin of Aphrodite (2003) and numerous articles on ancient religion and iconography. She has delivered papers in Athens, Dublin, Jerusalem, London, Nicosia, Oldenburg, and Stockholm, as well as various cities throughout the United States.

Reviews

'Throughout most of the book the material is presented well and each avenue is thoroughly explored. It provides a good grounding for students studying Ancient Greece and Rome to explore this hotly debated topic.' Rosetta 'This volume will be particularly useful for classicists with no previous expertise in this subfield, providing extensive commentary on the central corpus of sources for this custom. While there will be no doubt be those who dispute Budin's claims regarding the existence of sacred prostitution, there is no disputing the high level of scholarship which underpins her argument.' Classics Ireland '... the book is based on a solid knowledge of modern scholarship. It should be read both by those who maintain that sacred prostitution existed and by those who remain sceptical.' Arctos

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