The Gift in Antiquity



Table of Contents | Index


The Gift in Antiquity presents a collection of 14 original essays that apply French sociologist Marcel Mauss’s notion of gift-giving to the study of antiquity.


•  Features a collection of original essays that cover such wide-ranging topics as vows in the Hebrew Bible; ancient Greek wedding gifts; Hellenistic civic practices; Latin literature; Roman and Jewish burial practices; and Jewish and Christian religious gifts
•  Organizes essays around theoretical concerns rather than chronologically
•  Generates unique insights into gift-giving and reciprocity in antiquity
•  Takes an explicitly cross-cultural approach to the study of ancient history



“The Gift in Antiquity is an exciting and learned dialogue with Marcel Mauss’s The gift: Forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies, published ninety years ago. The essays engage Mauss’s model, offering critique and nuance, and sometimes push Mauss’s insights far beyond what he had imagined. While many anthologies are useful for the one or two essays they contain, this volume offers a tightly organized collection useful as a reader in classics, religion, or anthropology courses.” – John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto

“The Gift in Antiquity offers a rousing demonstration of the lessons to be learned from Marcel Mauss’s early insight that gift-giving offers a privileged way to understand social relations and social obligations. The book brims with the excitement of scholars from different disciplines building on a common theoretical tool to offer new perspectives on topics in their own fields as well as on the foundational concept of the gift itself. It is a book that all scholars of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, as well as all scholars interested in the gift, will want to read.” – David I. Kertzer, Brown University


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