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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Religion and community were deeply intertwined in ancient Greece. On the one hand, Greek religion was, to a very significant extent, communal; the overwhelming majority of cultic and ritual acts took place in various communal contexts. Public and private religious communities were not static and self-enclosed entities; they were involved in a continuous process of formation, transformation, and dissolution. On the other hand, almost all forms of Greek community had a religious basis, in addition to any other features. The absence of a Church as a separate institution meant that Greek communities had direct control over their religious affairs; it also meant that religion suffused all aspects of communal life. Religion presented a potent means for creating social cohesion and the articulation of communal identities; but it also constituted an arena in which conflicting visions of relationships among humans and between humans and gods were continuously expressed and contested.

Keywords: community, public, private, cultic, ritual, control, social cohesion, identities public

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