I’m compiling a list of books on spirit(s) in the ancient world. If you have any recommendations please share. This would include primary and secondary works, preferably from or about Greek, Roman, and Jewish sources, though if there is something you find interesting in general go ahead and let me know about it. Thank you!
Ancient Pneumatology, Angelology, Demonology, Holy Spirit/ Pneumatology
You might need to scan through the essays in Muzhou Pu’s (ed) “Rethinking Ghosts in World Religions”
Brian, I look forward to this; and thank you for it.
My principle source of information about spiritual things is the Bible, which, I’m sure, you also consult. Unfortunately, I have no other helpful recommendations.
And don’t those Harpies look suspiciously like angels? Or is it that our ideas of angels has been influenced by Greek Harpies?
Craig Keener wrote a new book that may be about this issue. Whether or not he used ancient sources a lot I do not know.
Also, David Aune has a scholarly work out that includes “magic” in the era of Christ, http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypticism-Prophecy-Magic-Early-Christianity/dp/0801035945/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365781824&sr=1-1&keywords=david+aune. I “MIGHT” be able to mail you an old used copy if I can find it.
Thanks for the “shout out.” Glad if I can help a tiny bit. I’ll be eager to see your list… important and fascinating subject.
I have a couple books and a general suggestion: “Resurrection Reconsidered” by Gregory J. Riley has quite a bit of info on the view of ghosts/spirits of the dead and such, prior to and around the time of the NT — as I recall both Greek/Roman and Jewish. Probably a good source of leads also, tho the book is a few years old now. I don’t recall how extensive his biblio is.
2nd: “Ecstatic Religion: A Study of Shamanism and Spirit Possession”, by
I. M. Lewis (latest ed. is 2003… I think I read the 1989 ed. many yrs. ago).
This one ties to my general suggestion: That your investigation and list will be enriched greatly if you consult some of the extensive material by scholars and practitioners in peripheral fields, important to understanding a range of views and human experiences with spirits, “possession”, the ties to religious views, etc. One cannot at all divorce psych and sociology (and anthro) from a literary study of this area without missing many key observations and insights. The psychological lit has a LOT on this, by both Xn’s and non-Xn’s. I know you are looking at mainly ancient views but my observation is that there is a lot of continuity and many common principles and experiences then and now, in “primitive” and “modern” societies. So does anthropology and sociology and where the latter 2 or all 3 overlap, as in the book just above.
A great scholar I’ve not read a lot directly, but have a bit and read those who credit him highly for his influence and profound research and insights is Jonathan Z. Smith. He may or may not have much directly on this subject. But well worth checking; if nothing else, for what he would lead you to. And he certainly knows Hellenistic religions and comparative religious themes, sociological functions of religion, etc. in great depth, as you may know. I was fascinated to see James Tabor gives him big recognition in the Acknowledgments section of his “Paul and Jesus”, a great analytic, explanatory book I just read and reviewed on my blog. He says something in relation to Smith that I know you’ll appreciate, Brian, “… Smith showed me I had missed the forest for the trees in focusing almost entirely on the New Testament writings. My world was transformed as I began to understand the wider context in which Christianity grew and developed…”.
One final general hint: Don’t overlook the Islamic lit, though a few centuries later, on the Jinn… that tradition and lit were drawing on traditions hundreds of years earlier and might also lead you to written sources. In addition, since that area re. spirits has been long and deeply developed in Persian/Arab and later Islamic traditions, I think you’d find fascinating things there, and some of which overlap with biblical and Greco-Roman views on spirit(s).
Do keep us posted!
Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul. Interprets Paul in light of the Stoic understanding of the spiritus/pneuma.
Dale B. Martin, The Corinthian Body. Like Engberg-Pedersen, views pneuma as material substance. Helpful survey of Greco-Roman attitudes toward body and spirit.
A.A. Long, “Soul and Body in Stoicism” which is chap. 10 in a book called Stoic Studies. The chapter is a good treatment of Stoic attitudes toward the relationship between body, soul, and the pneuma.
Richard Bauckham, The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses
Brian, if you are still following this thread, I just discovered another source that appears relevant to your project: “Jesus the Healer: Possession, Trance and the Origins of Christianity” by Stevan L. Davies. NY: Continuum, 1995.
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