Secrecy and Concealment: Studies in the History of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions

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This volume deals with secrecy and concealment in the history of mediterranean religions as pattern of social interaction. Secrecy is a powerful means in establishing identity and interaction as G. Simmel has demonstrated. Using his approach the scholars of this volume describe and explain the practical meaning of concealment in two different religious systems: in Egyptian and Greek polytheism and in Jewish, Christian, Gnostic and Shi'i monotheisms. This point of view reveals that all these religions shaped social norms concerning public and private aspects of the human self.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This volume brings together a [...] number of stimulating essays on a wonderful subject...a high level of scholarship and [...] unity in subject matter.'
Albert de Jong, Bibliotheca Oientalis, 1999.
'An important contribution for libraries with large holdings in ancient religions and the history of religion.'
C. Thomas McCollough, Religious Studies Review, 2000.
Eight English and 11 German essays explore how secrecy and concealment were used to establish identity and interaction in Egyptian and Greek polytheism, and in Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and Shi'i monotheisms. Based on the assumption that secrecy takes a minimum of three people, two to share a secret and one to be excluded, they show how such choices were used to shape the norms of public and private society. Among the English topics are Hellenistic religious communities, Greek magical papyri, estoericism and mysticism in early Christianity, and taqiyya in Shi'i. No subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004102354
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/1995
  • Series: Numen Book Series, #65
  • Pages: 406
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.68 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans G. Kippenberg, Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen, habilitation at the University of Berlin, held the chair for Comparative religion at the University of Groningen (1977-1989) and presently at Bremen. He is the editor of Numen (Brill).
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Table of Contents

Introduction by Hans G. Kippenberg and Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa
Gerd Theisen, 'Die pragmatische Bedeutung der Geheimnismotive im Markusevangelium. Ein wissenssoziologischer Versuch.'
Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa, 'From Esotericism to Mysticism in Early Christianity.'
Renate Schlesier, 'Maskierte Texte. Religiöse Anspielung und Verheimlichung in der griechischen Tragödie.'
Kurt Rudolph, 'Geheimnis und Geheimnishaltung in der antiken Gnosis und im Manichäismus.'
Birgitta Nedelmann, 'Geheimhaltung, Verheimlichung, Geheimnis — einige soziologische Vorüberlegungen.'
Luther Martin, 'Secrecy in Hellenistic Religious Communities.'
Robert Lamberton, 'The απόρρητος θεωρία and the Roles of Secrecy in the History of Platonism.'
Etan Kohlberg, 'Taqiyya in Shi'i Theology and Religion.'
Hans G. Kippenberg, 'Erstrebenswerte Prestige oder falscher Schein? Das offentliche Ansehen des Gerechten in Jüdisch-frühchristlichen Auseinandersetzungen.'
Moshe Idel, 'Secrecy, Binah and Derishah.'
Karl Hoheisel, 'Schauspielerei und Heuchelei in antike Beurteilungen.'
Burkhard Gladigow, 'Struktur der Öffentlichkeit und Bekenntnis in polytheistischen Religionen.'
Dieter Georgi, 'Das Problem des Martyriums bei Basilides: Vermeiden oder Verbergen.'
Hubert Cancik, 'Occulte adhuch colunt. Repression und Metamorphose der römischen Religion in der Spätantike.'
Walter Burkert, 'Der geheime Reiz des Verborgenen: Antike Mysterienkulte.'
Jan N. Bremmer, 'Religious Secrets and Secrecy in Classical Greece.'
Moshe Barasch, 'How the Hidden Becomes Visible.'
Jan Assman, 'Unio liturgica. Die kultische Einstimmung in götterweltlichen Löbpreis als Grundmotiv “esoterischer” Überlieferung im alten Ägypten.'
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