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Grant number like: FZ-272052-20

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Michael Satlow
Brown University (Providence, RI 02912-9100)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021

Seeking the Gods: The Spiritual Landscape of Late Antiquity

Writing a history of popular religious practice among Jews, Christians, and pagans in the eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity (c. 300-700 CE).

This book will bring to life the “spiritual landscape” of Late Antiquity shared by Jews, Christians, and "pagans" alike. While the elites of these emerging traditions were fighting about boundaries (and excoriating those who dared to cross them), most people in the eastern Mediterranean between the third and seventh centuries CE largely lived in the same conceptual world. This was a world, or landscape, with shared assumptions about the role that divine beings played in their lives and the practices and techniques that could be used to get these beings to help, even if these practices often had distinctive, superficial, markings of religious or ethnic identity. I will focus on the lived religion, the quotidian interactions between ordinary beings and supernatural agents, that was a pervasive and embedded part of everyone's life. Written in an accessible style, the argument is deeply relevant to our own modern attempt to see how religion can play an important and constructive role.