Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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Divine Powers in Late Antiquity

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Across the ancient Graeco-Roman world, divination is among the most salient ways in which the power of the divine involves itself in the human world. Of course, one could wait for a miracle, but the gods were talking to us all the time, and it would have been an utterly common occurrence for ancient observers to sense their gods' power emanating through the signs that were understood to course through the world around us. For decades, scholars have positioned these signs primarily as levers of social power. This has made the topic the province of historians and anthropologists seeking to gain a purchase on how those in control, and sometimes those from outside, harness the authority of the divine voice for their own ends. This approach has opened up rich veins of inquiry, with conversations across disciplinary boundaries and between students of different cultures and time periods.

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p. 75-87, "Iamblichus on Divination: Divine Power and Human Intuition" in Divine Powers in Late Antiquity edited by Viltanioti, I. &Marmodoro, A. (Eds.), 2017, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press

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Date Posted: 22 December 2017