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On Roman ReligionLived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome$
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Jörg Rüpke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704703

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704703.001.0001

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Individual Appropriation of Religion

Individual Appropriation of Religion

(p.8) 1 Individual Appropriation of Religion
On Roman Religion

Jörg Rüpke

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the question of individuality in religious matters. Certain consequences must be accepted if one wants to use the idea of the individual and that of individuality in religious studies to counter the claim of uniqueness in descriptions of “modern” religiosity. These begin with the choice of the objects of research: the focus is on individual practices, on life-cycle rituals in their importance not only for the constitution of communities but also for the process of individuation. Religious activities must not be viewed as solidified or permanent, or as well-organized “cults” and “religions,” formulating and achieving far-reaching normative claims and identities. Instead, they must be analyzed with regard for their temporary and situational character, with regard for the many roles that were involved and the widely diverse strategic interests of the participants. Through the lens of individualization, religion is as much a traditional system of symbols as it is a strategic option for an individual.

Keywords:   individuality, individual, religious studies, modern religiosity, life-cycle rituals, individuation, religious activities, individualization, religion

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