Cult Practices in Ancient Literatures

This article first appeared in ISAW Newsletter 14, Winter 2016.

Egyptian, Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Narratives in a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Workshop, organized by Franziska Naether, VRS
May 16, 10:00am-6:30pm; May 17, 9:00am-12:00pm

In a colorful Egyptian illustrated papyrus, a jackal-headed humanoid figure holds up a mummy in a standing position while female mourners gesture in front and, behdin them, male figures raise various objects to the mummy's head level. Vertical rows of hieroglyphic text, as well as other illustrations, surround the main image. Depiction of the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual on a papyrus from the British Museum, London. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Heroic stories and novels, tales, travel fictions and wisdom texts in the ancient world, from Egypt to Greece, from Anatolia to Rome, contained rituals, magic and divination. In the workshop, we will discuss phenomena of such cult practices and their functions in regard to ritual and literary studies. Topics include secret knowledge, presentations of the divine and of fate, sacred justice and practitioners of cult practices as protagonists in the narratives.

The workshop is partially sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.