Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

10. Manipulating "Religion": The Egyptian ‘Theologoumena’ in Diodorus Siculus

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Panayotis Pachis [+-]
Aristotle University
Panayotis Pachis is Professor of Religious Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. His publications include Religion and Politics in the Graeco-Roman World: Redescribing the Isis-Sarapis Cult (Barbounakis, 2010) and many articles on the Graeco-Roman religions and the cognitive study of religion. He is also the author of five books in Greek and co-editor of four volumes, most recently Chasing Down Religion: In the Sights of History and the Cognitive Sciences (with Donald Wiebe; Equinox, 2014).


In the first book of his Library of History Diodorus presents a panorama of ideas and practices that dominated the Egyptian everyday practices and customs during his own life time (1st century BCE). Diodorus lived in an unstable and constantly changing world where everything was challenged. The information that he provides regarding the religious practices of Egypt is of particular importance since it adds to the knowledge about Egypt in general. This approach of the Egyptian theologoumena by Diodorus Siculus may provide further confirmation regarding the encouragement, especially in the case of examining mythical narrations, which could be considered as ideological, that is an ongoing process of constructing, authorizing, and reconstructing social identities and/or social formations. In Diodorus’ work there are constant innuendos regarding the oppositions between the local and ecumenical character of the cults of the Egyptian deities. The priests of Egypt who remained loyal to religious traditions represent the first tendency. The second one is exemplified by the ecumenical and syncretistic character that is adopted in the worshipping of these deities already from the beginning of the Hellenistic era. The tendency towards ecumenism is directly related to the Ptolemaic attempts for a renewal of the traditional character of the Egyptian religion.

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Pachis, Panayotis. 10. Manipulating "Religion": The Egyptian ‘Theologoumena’ in Diodorus Siculus. Theorizing Religion in Antiquity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 197-220 May 2019. ISBN 9781781793572. Date accessed: 07 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27970. May 2019

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