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Two Notes on the Collection of Greek Ritual Norms

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Jan-Mathieu Carbon    Collège de France    

Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge    Collège de France    



Launched in 2017, the Collection of Greek Ritual Norms provides an open-access commentary on selected ancient Greek inscriptions which define parameters of ritual practice. These short notes address two issues superficially concerning the name of the Collection of Greek Ritual Norms, but more deeply engaging with what one means by the notion of 'ritual norm' and what one implies in considering such norms 'Greek'. A term like 'cult regulation' might conveniently be used to replace the misnomer 'sacred law', but this encompasses a similarly broad and miscellaneous group of inscriptions. By contrast, the category of 'ritual norm' aims to reframe the discussion by focussing on normativity – paradigms and exceptions – with regard to two key rituals, sacrifice and purification. It thus only partly reprises the corpus of 'sacred laws', while also including other inscriptions or excerpts from them. Calling such norms 'Greek' is not intended as an 'ethnic' designation of the rituals they describe but rather as a reference to the language of the inscriptions. The label 'Greek ritual norms' is thus programmatic, allowing for a wider investigation of the normative characteristics of rituals within the religious 'middle grounds' of the ancient Greek world.

Dec. 23, 2019
Sept. 8, 2019
July 8, 2019

Keywords: RitualRegulationCultNormHellenicity

Copyright: © 2019 Jan-Mathieu Carbon, Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.