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Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety: Some Aspects of Religious Experience from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine (Wiles Lectures Given at the Queens University, Belfast) Paperback – 22 Feb 1991


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Review

'The outstanding characteristics of [Dodds's] work … are a rather rare union of detachment and sympathy, a combination of precise scholarship and a degree of acquaintance with contemporary psychological theories unusual in a classical scholar, and last but not least, an ability to write very well.' The Times Literary Supplement

'Professor Dodds mutes and muffles nothing … His tone is level and just, his understanding is comprehensive and his emphasis is never polemic. There is a dry inner light in his writing which falls evenly in every sentence, a distillation of restrained wit and of the lifelong exercise of scholarship.' Peter Levi, The Tablet

Book Description

Interest in the world of Late Antiquity is currently undergoing a significant revival, and this provocative book now reissued in paperback, anticipated some of the themes now engaging scholars. Professor Dodds examines, from a sociological and psychological standpoint, the personal religious attitudes and experiences common to pagans and Christians in the period between Marcus Aurelius and Constantine.

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THE Wiles Trust, to which this book owes its origin, was established 'to promote the study of the history of civilisation and to encourage the extension of historical thinking into the realm of general ideas'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I read it in one sitting 31 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dodds delivers a concise but fascinating book on the interactions between the receeding Roman pagan religions and nascent Christianity. He draws heavily on primary sources, and (unlike too many other texts on the subject) refrains from gratuitous explanations and judgements. Coming from a background in religious philosophy, I would recommend this book for those interested in the formation of (and interrelatedness of) the religious ideas of Christianity, Gnosticism, Orphic/Pythagorean cults, and Neoplatonism.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
worth a look 5 Mar 2007
By D. Held - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a series of lectures (4) comparing various aspects of Christian Pagan spirituality. Though it has the quality of a lecture it is very well footnoted and annotated; there are gems and wry comments sprinkled throughout. The method of comparison is one of textual literary analysis, something that might seem a little old-fashioned especially when one considers how little of the writings of Late Antiquity has come down to us. (Ie, you can't make generalizations on general religious behavior with such scanty evidence.) Get it for its fluent discussion of various Christian and Pagan sects and their sometimes silliness. BTW, the author is an admitted agnostic and is not above an irreverent comment or two on religion.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
a classic 28 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
as funny as this sounds, i really found this book hard to put down. dodds gives a really nice, clear overview of the similarities between pagan and christian religions in the early-AD period, as well as touching briefly on the debates between them. this book also includes a lot on the sort of one-hit religious wonders of the ancient world. a pretty short read, and very informative.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
must read 3 Dec 2011
By E. Salazar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The practical psychological implications of belief in paradise in the afterlife presented in this book now color all my understanding of life and western culture. This short book presents a simple idea that is essential for any heir to christian thought who wishes to understand themselves.
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