Divine Saving and ‘Votive’ Religion in Ancient Greece - a seminar by Dr Theodora Jim - Milton Keynes - Thursday 21st November 2019

Events > Dr Theodora Jim


A lunchtime seminar at the Open University by Dr Theodora Jim from the University of Nottingham, Thursday 21st November 2019.

The talk will begin at 1pm, and a vegetarian & vegan buffet lunch will be available from 12.30pm. If you have any special dietary or other requirements, or any questions about the event, please email the organiser Jessica Hughes (jessica.hughes@open.ac.uk).

The seminar will take place on The Open University campus at Walton Hall, in Christodoulou Meeting Room 15. This room is behind the Hub restaurant/café (signs will be posted on the day).

This is a free event but spaces are limited, so please follow the link below to book your place via EventBrite.

Abstract: “All over the Greek world, there were hundreds of cults of gods bearing the epithet Soter (‘saviour’) and Soteira (‘saviouress’). Approached with innumerable prayers, sacrifices and dedications, these ‘saviour’ gods had the power to grant or withdraw an important blessing ― soteria (‘deliverance’, ‘safety’, ‘preservation’), which is arguably one of the most importance favours in the exchange of charis between men and gods. This seminar looks at how the Greeks negotiated soteria from the gods by means of ‘votive’ offerings, the hopes and beliefs they expressed, and the lived religious experience of the Greeks as embodied by these offerings.

What did it mean to the ancient Greeks to be ‘saved’, and how did they experience it? Sought in circumstances ranging from warfare to seafaring, childbirth, healing, farming, earthquakes and so on, soteria in Greek antiquity was about the safety and well-being of communities as much as that of their individual members. Contrary to what we may expect from the Christian eschatological sense of ‘salvation’, it is striking that Greek soteria and saviours gods were almost always concerned with deliverance and well-being in this world rather than the next. Combining close analysis of epigraphic and archaeological evidence, we shall explore the multivalent power of these ‘saviour’ gods and the different values attached to soteria. The evidence challenges us to rethink what we think we know about this Greek concept, and to recognize the importance of ‘salvation’ in this life as much as that in the next.”

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