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Reading: Reconstructing Late Antique Psychology: Reversion, Conversion and Introversion of the Soul

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Reconstructing Late Antique Psychology: Reversion, Conversion and Introversion of the Soul

Author:

Youval Rotman

Tel Aviv University, IL
About Youval

Youval Rotman is a social and anthropological historian of the Byzantine Mediterranean world. Within this framework he has worked on slavery, captives, ransoming of captives, cultural and social relationships between religious communities of different faith, forms of sanctity and insanity, psychological processes of transformation, and religious conversion.

He is the author of Byzantine Slavery and the Mediterranean World (Harvard University Press, 2009:,http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674036116 ), published first in French (Les Belles Lettres, 2004), which ascribed a decisive role to slavery in the historical development of the early medieval Mediterranean. His second book: Insanity and Sanctity in Byzantium: the Ambiguity of Religious Experience (Harvard University Press, 2016, http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674057616 ) studies different forms of social abnormality and their sanctification in the Byzantine Near East as a motor of social change.

Youval Rotman is an Associate Professor of History at the department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University and can be reached at yrotman@post.tau.ac.il

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Abstract

The religious, theological and philosophical discourse in Late Antiquity concerning the human soul, the Greek psuchē, reveals a sophisticated and complex psychological language that was aimed at conceptualizing and articulating the act of conversion. The analysis of Gnostic, Orthodox Christian, and Neoplatonic writings in relation to the psuchē shows the cardinal role that this term played in formulating individual processes of mental transformation. Attributing active agency, mutability and relational aspect to the individual psuchē turned it into a unique conceptual device, necessary to define anew the human condition.
How to Cite: Rotman, Y., 2016. Reconstructing Late Antique Psychology: Reversion, Conversion and Introversion of the Soul. Journal for Late Antique Religion and Culture, 10, pp.12–37. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2016.10115
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Published on 24 Nov 2016.
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