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Travel and Religion in Antiquity


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About the Author

Philip A. Harland is an associate professor in humanities and ancient history at York University. His recent books on social and religious life in the Greco-Roman world include Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations (2003) and Dynamics of Identity in the World of the Early Christians (2009). He also runs a group of websites, a podcast, and a blog on religions of the ancient Mediterranean at


``Philip Harland has produced an exceptionally interesting and theoretically astute collection of essays, based on the seminars of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and throughly in dialogue with new work like Jas Elsner and Ian Rutherford's Seeing the Gods (although too late for some of the participants to engage in Catherine Heszer's new Jewish Travel in Antiquity).[1] In some ways the volume follows new questions in the area of New Testament studies about itinerancy and cult migration; and yet only two of the papers in the volume address New Testament materials. The collection is far more eclectic, including discussions of Mesopotamian mythology, Nabataean ritual, and Tacitus's interpretations of barbarian gods.... Harland has assembled a rich, lucid, and thought-provoking book of essays, the kind that can be recommended for general perusal rather than for a few isolated essays.''--David Frankfurter "H-Judaic (H-Net Reviews), June 2012 "
``This interdisciplinary collection of essays tackles the complicated and significant role of travel and movement in ancient Mediterranean religions. Its chapters address issues of pilgrimage, travel narratives, ethnography, migration and occupational travel through the examination of literary, epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological sources. Focusing primarily on the eastern Mediterranean, it explores travel in the religious lives of ancient Mesopotamians, Judeans, Greeks, Romans, Nabateans, and Christians. Its chronological, geographic and methodological range is impressive and the chapters only grow stronger when seen in dialogue with one another.... Altogether...the essays succeed admirably at charting new directions and exploring new terrain. While many others have studied travel and religion, especially with regard to pilgrimage and identity, the range of this collection leads us to think about travel as an inherent and widespread component of religions in the ancient Mediterranean world.... Travel and Religion in Antiquity will surely spark future research in this important area, especially in light of its timeliness. All told it is a very welcome addition to the scholarship on ancient travel and religion.''--Josephine Shaya "Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2011.11.24 "

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