Singing for the Gods
Oxford University Press, USA
develops a new approach towards an old question in the study of religion - the relationship of myth and ritual. Focusing on ancient Greek religion, Barbara Kowalzig exploits the joint occurrence of myth and ritual in archaic and classical Greek song-culture. She shows how choral performances of myth and ritual, taking place all over the ancient Greek world in the early fifth century BC, help to effect social and political change in their own time. Religious song emerges as integral to a rapidly changing society hovering between local, regional, and panhellenic identities and between aristocratic rule and democracy. Drawing on contemporary debates on myth, ritual, and performance in social anthropology, modern history, and theatre studies, this book establishes Greek religion's dynamic role and gives religious song-culture its deserved place in the study of Greek history.