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Before ReligionA History of a Modern Concept$
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Brent Nongbri

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300154160

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300154160.001.0001

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Some (Premature) Births of Religion in Antiquity

Some (Premature) Births of Religion in Antiquity

(p.46) Three Some (Premature) Births of Religion in Antiquity
Before Religion

Brent Nongbri

Yale University Press

This chapter explains that simply translating the word “religion” tends to leave the impression that the concept of religion was already operative before the modern era. It adds that there are some particular moments in antiquity that marked the beginning of the concept of religion or the “disembedding” of religion from the politico-religio-ethnic mixture of ancient life. These four moments include: the “Maccabean revolt” in the middle of the second century bce; the Cicero's discussions about the gods in them idle of the first century bce; the writings of the church historian Eusebius in the early fourth century ce; and the birth of Islam in the seventh century.

Keywords:   religion, antiquity, Maccabean revolt, Cicero, Eusebius, Islam

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