Thursday, June 20, 2024

Walter (ed.), The Temporality of Festivals (De Gruyter, open access)

The Temporality of Festivals
Approaches to Festive Time in Ancient Babylon, Greece, Rome, and Medieval China

Edited by: Anke Walter

Volume 10 in the series Chronoi

Published: April 1, 2024
ISBN: 9783111366876

Published: April 1, 2024
ISBN: 9783111364865

About this book

Open Access

How can time become festive? How do festivals manage to make time ‘special’, to mark out a certain day or days, to distinguish them from ‘normal’, everyday time, and to fill them with meaning? And how can we reconstruct what festive time looked like in the past and what people thought about it?

While a lot of research has been done on festivals from the point of view of several scholarly disciplines, the specific temporality of festivals has not yet attracted sufficient attention. In this volume, scholars from different fields provide answers to the questions raised above, based on a fresh analysis of astronomical documents, calendars, and literary texts. Cultures as diverse as ancient Babylon, Greece and Rome, and medieval China all share a sense of calendrically recurring festive time as something special that needs to be carefully mapped out and preserved, often with great sophistication, and that gives us precious insights into the broader religious, political, and social dimensions of time within past cultures.

Regular PaleoJudaica readers are familiar with the Akitu Festival, the Babylonian New Year celebration. See here and links plus here.

Dunhuang in China might seem like a stretch, but PaleoJudaica has an interest there too. Fragments of Christian texts in Syriac and Jewish texts in Hebrew were excavated there, and even one or two medieval fragments of the Manichean version of the Book of Giants. See here and links and here and links.

Translations of the Book of Giants fragments from Dunhuang and (mostly) from nearby Turfan, as well as the fragments of the original Aramaic from Qumran, are coming out soon in More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2. The publication date is currently scheduled for April 2025.

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