This collection investigates the phenomenon of religious experience in early Judaism and early Christianity. The essays consider such diverse phenomena as scribal inspiration, possession, illness, ascent, theurgy, and spiritual transformation wrought by reading, and recognize that the texts are reflective of the lived experiences of ancient religious peoples, which they understood to be encounters with the divine. Contributors use a variety of methodologies, including medical anthropology, neurobiology, and ritual and performance studies, to move the investigation beyond traditional historical and literary methodologies and conclusions to illuminate the importance of experience in constructions of ancient religion.
Frances Flannery is Associate Professor of Religion at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and the author of Dreamers, Scribes and Priests: Jewish Dreams in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras (Brill). Colleen Shantz is Assistant Professor of New Testament at St. Michael’s College in the Toronto School of Theology. She is author of Paul in Ecstasy: The Neurobiology of the Apostle’s Life and Thought (Cambridge University Press). Rodney A. Werline is Associate Professor and the Marie and Leman Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies at Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina, and author of penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism: The Development of a Religious Institution (Society of Biblical Literature) and Pray Like This: Understanding Prayer in the Bible (T&T Clark).