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Redescribing Graeco-Roman Antiquity: on Religion and History of Religion

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In introducing the theme ‘Redescribing Graeco-Roman Antiquity’ this article shows how conventional claims to uniqueness of early Judaism and early Christianity misconstrue religious history. In fact, the conventional portrayal of early Judaism, early Christianity, and Graeco-Roman religions (especially, in this case, the mystery religions) is in itself a social discourse. This is set in the context of the Graeco-Roman constructions of deity, which is demonstrated to be in themselves, too, social discourses, more specifically, an imperialising discourse. Attention is paid to the discursivity of the phenomena under consideration and it is argued that history of religion is both a study of the construction of the historical ‘object’ as well as the construction of the construction of the historical ‘object’.


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