Reading Dionysus 978-3-16-153813-1 - Mohr Siebeck
Classics

Courtney J. P. Friesen

Reading Dionysus

Euripides' Bacchae and the Cultural Contestations of Greeks, Jews, Romans, and Christians

[Dionysos lesen. Euripides' Bakchen und die kulturellen Streitfragen von Griechen, Juden, Römern und Christen.]

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Did religious boundaries shift by way of the reception of a popular drama, Euripides' Bacchae? Courtney J. P. Friesen explores how writers from the 5th century BCE through Byzantium, including Jews and Christians, variously articulated their religious visions over against the tragic Dionysus, often while paradoxically adopting the god's language and symbols.
Courtney J. P. Friesen explores shifting boundaries of ancient religions by way of the reception of a popular tragedy, Euripides' Bacchae. As a play staging political crises provoked by the arrival of the »foreign« god Dionysus and his ecstatic cult, audiences and readers found resonances with their own cultural moments. This dramatic deity became emblematic of exuberant and liberating spirituality and, at the same time, a symbol of imperial conquest. Thus, readings of the Bacchae frequently foreground conflicts between religious autonomy and political authority, and between ethnic diversity and social cohesion. This cross-disciplinary study traces appropriations and evocations of this drama ranging from the fifth century BCE through Byzantium not only among »pagans« but also Jews and Christians. Writers variously articulated their religious visions over against Dionysus, often while paradoxically adopting the god's language and symbols. Consequently, imitation and emulation are at times indistinguishable from polemics and subversion.
This work was awarded the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise 2016.
Authors/Editors

Courtney J. P. Friesen Born 1979; 2013 PhD from the University of Minnesota, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies; currently instructor of Greek, University of Oxford, Faculty of Theology and Religion.

Reviews

The following reviews are known:

In: Biblische Zeitschrift — 61 (2017), S. 309–311 (Hans Förster)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — http://www.bookreviews.org (3/2018) (J.R.C. Cousland)
In: Jahrbuch f.Antike und Christentum — 60 (2017), S. 140–145 (Heinz-Günther Nesselrath)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 60 (2016), S. 192
In: Journal for the Study of the NT — 38.5 (2016), S. 111–112 (John R.L. Moxon)
In: Journal of Theological Studies — 68 (2017), S. 325–327 (Simon Perris)
In: Religious Studies Review — 42 (2016), S. 206–207 (Michael Kochenash)
In: Studien zum NT u.seiner Umwelt — 41 (2016), S. 220–223 (Gudrun Nassauer)
In: ProtoView — www.protoview.com (8/2016)