• JÖRG RÜPKE University of Erfurt
Keywords: religious agency, sacralisation, urban religion, tradition, canon


Starting from a discussion against the notions of a unified ‘public religion’ my focus during the past decade has been on ‘religious individualization’ and the fluidity of religion captured by the concepts of ‘lived ancient religion’ and ‘religion in the making’. These concepts focus on the inherent dynamic qualities of those cultural products that I identify as religion in the course of historical analyses. And yet, the undeniable presence of traditions and even canones can be conceptualized beyond a world of individually fragmented religious practices and beliefs and incipient, ever-changing and also dissolving institutions that would be clustered together only in the form of narrative shorthand terms by historians. The paper offers a theoretical reflection on a concept of religion useful for the question of tradition and canonization, building on earlier proposals and developing those further by developing the notion of sacralisation. This will be framed by an historical assumption, namely that the processes of interest here are pushed in urban contexts. Here, my focus will be on the ancient Mediterranean.


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