A Commentary on Cicero, De Divinatione I, is the first English-language commentary on the Latin text of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s dialogue in almost one hundred years. The defense of divination (the science of predicting the future) offered in Book 1 is illustrated with many entertaining anecdotes that make the argument more accessible to a wider range of readers than many of Cicero’s other philosophical works. De Divinatione also preserves many fragments of otherwise lost masterpieces of Roman Republican literature. It is a text important for the study of Roman religion, as well as Roman political and intellectual history.
This commentary aims to assist the reader in seeing De Divinatione as a cohesive whole, and to make it accessible—not only to classicists, but also to scholars of religion and to philosophers who may not be familiar with the historical and Roman intellectual background that are the focus here. The cases made for and against divination in De Divinatione closely follow arguments made by Greek philosophers, but many of the examples illustrating them reflect Cicero’s preferences in literature, his own poetic efforts and political experience, and his expertise as an augur. The result is a very personal work closely tied to Cicero’s own experience.
Celia Schultz’s volume contains the full Latin text of De Divinatione, Book 1, and accompanies it with commentary on points of grammar, history, prosopography, and ancient religious practice, among other topics. She includes a helpful bibliography for those interested in further study of points raised in the text or commentary.
Andrew R. Dyck ranks among the top Latinists in Ciceronian studies. In this new volume, he offers the first commentary on Cicero’s De Divinatione II in nearly a century. This commentary aims to equip students and scholars of Latin with the kinds of historical and philosophical background and linguistic and stylistic information needed to understand and appreciate Cicero’s text on Roman religion and divination. Dyck situates Cicero’s text in the context of Roman religion in antiquity, and he traces the subsequent reception of the text. The introduction reviews recent interpretations of De Divinatione. Dyck rejects the view that has recently been widespread in Anglophone studies that De Divinatione stages a debate between roughly equal opponents and without the emergence of a clear authorial point of view. Instead he argues that a careful reading shows that Cicero as author is invested in the argument, with the particular aim of countering superstition.
Celia Schultz’s earlier volume in this series presented the text and commentary for De Divinatione I. With Andrew Dyck’s companion volume on the second book of De Divinatione, students and teachers are well served with crucial texts from one of Rome’s most famous philosophers, as he considers important Roman practices and beliefs.
Advance your understanding of divination’s role in supporting or undermining imperial aspirations in the ancient Near East
This collection examines the ways that divinatory texts in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East undermined and upheld the empires in which the texts were composed, edited, and read. Nine essays and an introduction engage biblical scholarship on the Prophets, Assyriology, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the critical study of Ancient Empires.
Interdisciplinary approaches include propaganda studies
Essays examine how biblical and other ancient Near Eastern texts were shaped by political and theological empires
Based on years of fieldwork in both rural and urban Greece, The Last Word explores women's cultural resistance as they weave together diverse social practices: improvised antiphonic laments, divinatory dreaming, the care and tending of olive trees and the dead, and the inscription of emotions and the senses on a landscape of persons, things, and places. These practices compose the empowering poetics of the cultural periphery. C. Nadia Seremetakis liberates the analysis of gender from reductive binary models and pioneers the alternative perspective of self-reflexive "native anthropology" in European ethnography.
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress BF1891.B64T39 2007 | Dewey Decimal 203.7
The desert has long been a theme in Mark C. Taylor’s work, from his inquiries into the religious significance of Las Vegas to his writings on earthworks artist Michael Heizer. At once haunted by absence and loss, the desert, for Taylor, is a place of exile and wandering, of temptation and tribulation. Bones, in turn, speak to his abiding interest in remnants, ruins, ritual, and immanence. Taylor combines his fascination in the detritus of the desert and its philosophical significance with his work in photography in Mystic Bones.
A collection of remarkably elegant close-up images of weathered bones—remains of cattle, elk, and deer skeletons gathered from the desert of the American West—Mystic Bones pairs each photograph with a philosophical aphorism. These images are buttressed by a major essay, “Rubbings of Reality,” in which Taylor explores the use of bones in the religious rituals of native inhabitants of the Western desert and, more broadly, the appearance of bones in myth and religious reality.
Meditating on the way in which bones paradoxically embody both the personal and the impersonal—at one time they are our very substance, but eventually they become our last remnants, anonymous, memorializing oblivion—Taylor here suggests ways in which natural processes can be thought of as art, and bones as art objects. Bones, Taylor writes, “draw us elsewhere.” To follow their traces beyond the edge of the human is to wander into ageless times and open spaces where everything familiar becomes strange.
By revealing beauty hidden in the most unexpected places, these haunting images refigure death in a way that allows life to be seen anew. A bold new work from a respected philosopher of religion, Mystic Bones is Taylor’s his most personal statement of after-God theology.
Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifá, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifá, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations, and lively public debates to show how Ifá practitioners see truth as something to be not so much represented, as transformed. Bringing his findings to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, he recasts the very idea of truth as a matter not only of epistemological divergence but also of ontological difference—the question of truth, he argues, is not simply about how things may appear differently to people, but also about the different ways of imagining what those things are. By delving so deeply into Ifá practices, Truth in Motion offers cogent new ways of thinking about otherness and how anthropology can navigate it.
Water Witching U.S.A.
Evon Z. Vogt and Ray Hyman University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress BF1628.V6 2000 | Dewey Decimal 133.3232
Despite advanced technology, the practice of water witching—using a forked stick to indicate an underground source of water—persists in both rural and urban areas. Water Witching U.S.A. is a lively look at "dowsing," full of personal accounts, historical background, and data from controlled experiments and a nationwide survey. This study includes a collection of photographs, drawings, and historical woodcuts showing the tools, techniques, and early instances of dowsing, as well as cross-sectional views contrasting the dowser's explanation of groundwater with the geologist's.