Thursday, October 03, 2019

Review of Luijendijk and Klingshirn (eds.), My Lots are in Thy Hands

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: AnneMarie Luijendijk, William E. Klingshirn (ed.), My Lots are in Thy Hands: Sortilege and its Practitioners in Late Antiquity. Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 188. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2018. Pp. xvii, 392. ISBN 9789004384101. €129,00. Reviewed by Joseph E. Sanzo, University of Warwick (
Sortilege properly emerges from this volume as a complex cluster of ritual, scribal, and textual practices, which formed an important aspect of late antique social existence. Each essay successfully functions as a stand-alone contribution, offering a wealth of information to anyone interested in this important ancient practice. The non-expert will especially benefit from the editors’ introduction and first chapter. Yet, as a collection, the reader both receives valuable insight into the most important sortes (e.g., the Sortes Astrampsychi, the hermÄ“neiai, the Gospel of the Lots of Mary) and gains a vivid sense of how sortilege was interwoven into various ancient domains, including law (Naether), economy (Ratzan), ecclesiastical institutions (Kocar, Frankfurter, and Luijendijk), the body (Costanza), and sacred texts (Wilkinson, Childers, Meerson, van der Horst).
Sortilege (casting lots to make decisions, including by consulting random passages in scripture) is also attested in late antique Judaism. See the article in this volume by Pieter van der Horst.

I noted the publication of this book here.

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