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Networks and narratives: a model for ancient Greek religion?

Eidinow, Esther


Esther Eidinow


Polis religion has become the dominant model for the description of ritual activity in ancient Greek communities.Indeed,scholars have invoked polis religion to try to resolve the much-debated question of the definition of magic vs. religion, arguing that particular ‘magical’practices, and their practitioners, do not belong to‘collective polis religion.’
However,the relationship to polis religion of a‘magical’practice such as the writingof binding spells is surely moreambiguous, as well as of other cult activity relating (in various ways)to the worshipof Dionysos. Further examination suggests that defining whatit means for ritual activity to be integrated within the schema of polis religion becomes increasingly difficult as we examine the variety of cult organisations and the different levels and types of involvement by the polis.
This paper argues that social network theory may beable to overcome these conceptual difficulties. This approach can offer an alternative, more fluid construction of ancientGreek religion, which allows us to take account ofcoexisting,sometimes overlapping,networks of ritual activities.


Eidinow, E. (2011). Networks and narratives: a model for ancient Greek religion?

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2011
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 8, 2013
Journal Kernos: revue internationale et pluridisciplinaire de religion grecque antique
Electronic ISSN Electronic: 2034-7871 Print: 0776-3824
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information From: Vinciane Pirenne []
Sent: 01 February 2013 16:30
To: Esther Eidinow

Your e-mail has been forwarded to me. We do not have any system of fees for making articles open access (we are not so well organized...). However, if you want to make your paper freely available on an institutional deposit (this is my case at the University of Liège :, do it. On the plateform "" itself, it will be open access in 2014.
All the best,


Kernos_24_(2011)_Eidinow.pdf (473 Kb)

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