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Libanius the SophistRhetoric, Reality, and Religion in the Fourth Century$
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Raffaella Cribiore

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452079.001.0001

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A Man and His Gods

A Man and His Gods

(p.132) Chapter 3 A Man and His Gods
Libanius the Sophist

Raffaella Cribiore

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the place traditional religion held in the lives of certain men of the fourth-century elite, not only Libanius but also his friends and acquaintances. In doing so the chapter turns to the rare instances of orthopraxis (standardized rituals and cult acts, including prayer) that occur in Libanius's work. A general sense of his everyday religious practice is missing; most of the time he appears only as an observer in religious contexts. Libanius's epistolary reveals two distinct groups of pagans: those who supported paganism with some energy and those more moderate pagans (herein referred to as “gray pagans”) for whom paganism was a way of life rather than a cause to sustain.

Keywords:   traditional religion, fourth-century elite, orthopraxis, Libanius's letters, paganism, gray pagans, moderate pagans

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