Isis in the Ancient World / Edition 1

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Overview

Worship of the Egyptian goddess Isis dates as far back as 2500 B.C. and extended at least until the fifth century A.D. throughout the Roman world. The importance of her cult is attested to in Apuleius's Golden Ass, and evidence of its influence has been found in places as far apart as Afghanistan and Portugal, the Black Sea and northern England. The first study to document the extent and complexity of the cult's influence on Graeco-Roman and early Christian culture, R. E. Witt's acclaimed Isis in the Ancient World is now available in paperback.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

History Today

Distinguished for its learning and its use of fascinating and little-known iconographic material... The importance of this study, both for the history of religions and of Graeco-Roman society, lies in the evidence, assembled and interpreted, of a widespread desire to worship a goddess who embodied maternal compassion and omnipotent wisdom.

Times Literary Supplement

This is in many ways a pioneering book by an author who knows how to use archaeological as well as literary evidence. It is an important contribution to an understanding of the religious attitudes of ordinary men and women who lived under the rule of the Caesars... [It is a ] well-written, well-planned, and finely illustrated work [that] contributes powerfully to our knowledge of significant aspects of the Graeco-Roman world.

Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
Particularly stimulating is the attempt to assess the impact of the Isis cult on Christianity. Here Dr. Witt is able to deploy his wide knowledge of the religion of the Byzantine era and its sequel in Greek Orthodoxy, and he is also able to correct the severe underestimation of the moral appeal of the Isis cult which has hitherto prevailed among historians of Christianity.

— J. Gywn Griffiths

Journal of Egyptian Archaeology - J. Gywn Griffiths

Particularly stimulating is the attempt to assess the impact of the Isis cult on Christianity. Here Dr. Witt is able to deploy his wide knowledge of the religion of the Byzantine era and its sequel in Greek Orthodoxy, and he is also able to correct the severe underestimation of the moral appeal of the Isis cult which has hitherto prevailed among historians of Christianity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801856426
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 860,223
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

R. E. Witt (1903-1980) taught at Queen Mary's College, University of London, and is also the author of Albinus and the History of Middle Platonism.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 7
Preface 11
I The Ancient Goddess of the Nile 13
II Isis, Giver of Life 25
III Osiris - Brother, Husband, Son 36
IV The Spread of the Egyptian Faith 46
V In the House of Isis 59
VI To the Shores of Italy 70
VII The Holy Servants of Isis 89
VIII Telling Forth Her Praises 100
IX The One Whose Names Cannot Be Numbered 111
X The All-Loving Mother 130
XI Great Artemis-Isis 141
XII Mystery and Sacrament 152
XIII The Procession to the Ship 165
XIV Healing the Sick 185
XV The Guardian Guide and Herald 198
XVI The Young King and Lord of All 210
XVII The Goddess Darling of Roman Emperors 222
XVIII Xenophon's Isiac Romance 243
XIX The Pauline View 255
XX The Great Forerunner 269
Abbreviations 282
Notes 284
Bibliography 327
Sources of Illustrations 331
Index 332
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