Theodora Jim is a historian specializing in the religion and culture of Ancient Greece. Having completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford, she is now Assistant Professor in Ancient Greek History at the University of Nottingham in the UK. She has travelled extensively in Greece and modern-day Turkey, examining monuments, inscriptions on stone, and the archaeology of cults. Actively engaged in anthropological and comparative approaches, she enjoys studying Greek Religion in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary contexts. In particular, she is interested in popular religion and the lived religious experience of worshippers. She is the author of the monograph Sharing with the Gods: Aparchai and Dekatai in Ancient Greece (Oxford, 2014). Currently she is investigating the concept of ‘salvation’ in ancient Greece, and is keen to compare the Greek notion to that in Christianity and Chinese religions.
Ancient Greek religion; ancient polytheism; comparative religions; Sino-Hellenic studies; anthropology approaches; Greek epigraphy.
Divine Saving in Greek and Chinese polytheism
In both Greek and Chinese religions, there exists a bewildering plurality of gods overseeing the safety, protection and deliverance of individuals and the states. Divine saving is arguably one of the blessings most hoped for from the gods. But perhaps because of our modern western tendency to associate this with Christianity, conceptions of divine ‘saving’ and ‘salvation’ have been largely neglected or even avoided by historians in other religions. Wishing to surmount established geographical and disciplinary boundaries, this project will bring together the polytheistic systems of two world civilizations in the analysis of this phenomenon. Making extensive use of literary, epigraphic and material evidence in Greece and China, it will investigate what it meant to be ‘saved’ in Greek and Chinese polytheism, worshippers’ religious beliefs and cult practices in securing divine ‘saving’, and how hopes of divine rescue are projected onto the names of the gods. Yet this project is not simply about religion of the state and theoretical analysis of the system of divine naming but deals also with popular religion and the lived experience of worshippers. The project aspires to advance our understand of both Greek and Chinese polytheism, and to encourage further comparative studies between the East and West.