Skip navigation to content
School of Classics > Events > Conferences > 2009-2010 > Belief and its Alternatives

Belief and its Alternatives in Greek and Roman Religion

Conference: 2-3 July 2010
School of Classics, University of St Andrews

The religions of Greece and Rome have long been regarded as religions of ritual, religions in which what was done mattered far more than what was thought. Responses to the supposedly practice-centred nature of Greek and Roman religion have ranged from the dismissive, which see the ritualism of ancient religions as a symptom of their spiritual emptiness, to the highly creative, such as the structuralist approaches of the Paris School and sociological approaches which probe the relationship between ritual and society. Common to these latter approaches is the idea that, even if Greek and Roman religion was dominated by ritual, the rituals depended for their meaning on a complex network of ideas and assumptions. Recent research has returned to the question of how best to reflect that cognitive side of ancient religion, and in particular to the utility of the term ‘belief’ in modelling ancient religions. This conference brings together specialists in Greek and Roman religion, Theology and Early Modern History to discuss question the question of the role of ‘belief’ in Greek and Roman religion and the applicability of the term to the ancient Mediterranean world.

Confirmed Speakers

Robert Parker (Oxford)
Tom Harrison (Liverpool)
John Cottingham (Reading)
Peter Harrison (Oxford)
John Scheid (Collège de France)

Hugh Bowden (King’s College London)
Pramit Chauduri (Dartmouth College)
Esther Eidinow (Newman University College, Birmingham)
Ido Israelowich (Tel Aviv)
George van Kooten (Groningen)
Jennifer Knust (Boston)
Jacob Mackey (Stanford)
Teresa Morgan (Oxford)
Peter van Nuffelen (Ghent)
Ivana and Andrej Petrovic (Durham)
Shaul Tor (Cambridge)
Ralph Anderson (St Andrews)

 

Conference Programme

Friday 2nd July

Session

Time

Speaker

Title

 

9.00 – 9.30

Registration

 

1

9.30 – 10.15

Peter Harrison

Religion, the religions, and propositional beliefs

10.15 – 11.00

John Cottingham

Belief and praxis in ancient and modern religion

 

11.00 – 11.30

Tea / coffee

 

2

11.30 – 12.15

Robert Parker

Protecting the gods: control on deeds and control on words in Greek religion

12.15 – 1.00

Shaul Tor

Belief and Practice in Xenophanes’ Criticism of Traditional Religion

 

1.00 – 2.00

Lunch

 

3

2.00 – 2.45

Tom Harrison

The psychology of religious belief

2.45 – 3.30

Ivana & Andrej Petrovic

Purity of mind in Greek sacred regulations: a paradigm of belief?

 

3.30 – 4.00

Tea / coffee

 

4

4.00 – 4.45

Peter van Nuffelen

A fragile synthesis: philosophy and traditional religion in the Post-Hellenistic period

4.45 – 5.30

George van Kooten

The terminology of ‘belief’ and ‘to believe’ in Plutarch and Paul

Saturday 3rd July

Session

Time

Speaker

Title

5

9.30 – 10.15

Pramit Chauduri

 

Testing the gods: empiricism and belief in Roman Imperial epic

10.15 – 11.00

Jacob Mackey

Is there an alternative to belief in Roman religion? The case of Mark Antony’s Flaminate

 

11.00 – 11.30

Tea / coffee

 

6

11.30 – 12.15

Hugh Bowden

Ritual, belief and experience in the Eleusinian Mysteries

12.15 – 1.00

Ralph Anderson

Perception as an alternative to belief in Greek religious experience

 

1.00 – 2.00

Lunch

 

7

2.00 – 2.45

Esther Eidinow

Cultural models of fate and fortune

2.45 – 3.30

Ido Israelowich

Belief and knowledge in ancient medicine; a reconsideration

 

3.30 – 4.00

Tea/coffee

 

8

4.00 – 4.45

Round table

 

Events Enquiries

Conferences

classcon@st-andrews.ac.uk

Research Seminars

Please direct enquiries to

Roger Rees, 
School of Classics,
University of St Andrews,
St Andrews KY16 9AL.
Tel.:
01334-462600.
E-mail:
classicsdor@st-andrews.ac.uk

Travel

Getting to St Andrews

Maps & directions

If you a not a UK or EU citizen and if you need a letter of invitation for immigration purposes in order to attend an event organised by the School of Classics, please contact classcon@st-andrews.ac.uk.