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Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion [Hardcover]

Robert Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jun 1983
Readers of Greek literary, historical, oratorical, ritual, and even medical texts, are all liable to encounter ideas of `pollution'. This book seeks to describe and analyse this wide-ranging and complex concept.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press (Jun 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198148356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198148357
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,395,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description



" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robert Parker is Fellow and Tutor in Greek and Latin Languages and Literature at Oriel College, Oxford. Dr. Parker is also the author of Athenian Religion: A History (OUP, 1996). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
In the longest extant analysis of the activity called katharmos, Plato in the Sophist presents it as an aspect of the 'science of division'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book 21 Sep 2006
By Dr Carl
This is an old-fashioned book full of old-fashioned virtues. Well-researched, well-argued and well-written. The subject is one that should interest all those concerned about the toxic and destructive qualities of groups, organizations and societies. It also demonstrates the unique usefulness of the Greeks' concept of miasma to our society, a miasmatic society if ever there was one. Strongly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miasma -- Not for the Faint of Heart 30 Sep 1997
By donovan@newsb.buffalo.edu - Published on Amazon.com
"Miasma" (or me-ahz-MAH' as the ancients would say it, we think) is a subject and a book that will be of most interest to scholars of ancient Greek culture, religion and language, as well as to students of comparative languages and literatures. It is a dense but well-written text by Parker, an important and recognized scholar. Organized conceptually, the book begins with an introduction to related and apparently overlapping terms: miasma, agos, enages, katharsos, hosios, hagnos, and the like. These terms can be examined in terms of how they are thought to relate to birth/death rituals, lustrations, the shedding of blood, purification of holy sites, etc. This would be quite enough but Parker's erudition ups the book's score. He analyzes each concept and situation in terms of the various genres of his sources and in terms of the time periods in which tehy were written. These are the materials from which we have derived our notion of daily life in ancient Greece, and Parker is well-versed in the entire canon of Greek dramas, philosophy, history, cult records, oratory, mythology, and on and on. The author's observations and conclusions are surprising and very valuable not only because of his close and careful of the citations that illuminate his theories, but because the care taken itself reminds us of the danger of making broad assumptions based on a narrow review of primary sources. This is a major text in the field of Greek religion and it's been a long time coming. I wish he'd put forth his own hypotheses at the beginning of each section, which would make note-taking a lot easier, but it would deprive the reader of the carefully-reasoned arguments that lead him -- and us -- to his conclusions. Kudos.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for understanding ancient concept of pollution 24 May 2004
By S W - Published on Amazon.com
I really enjoyed reading this book. If you want to get inside the head of an ancient Greek, to understand what miasma was all about, then read this book. It has been beneficial to me in my practice of Hellnismos as well. It goes into detail about *why* washing your hands in the lustral water is important, etc. This notion now has a more central influence on the way I practice my own religion.
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