Local Religion Meets the Ideals of the Elite
The Interplay of Rhetoric and Social Realities in Late Antiquity
The research project will focus on the interaction between the spheres of popular religiosity and the religion defined and controlled by the elite. Popular religiosity here refers to the every-day religiosity, ‘lived religion’. In the line of the recent development in religious studies (but also testing recent scholarly discussions), Kahlos maintains that it is essential to study local religious cultures in which both the ‘high’ and the ‘low’ are intertwined. Consequently, she aims at investigating both the interaction and tension between popular religiosity and elite ideals. The focus is in the everyday life situations and encounters in local communities with mixed populations consisting of different religious groups (‘pagans’, Christians, Jews of many sorts as well other groups). Kahlos has worked on the uses of the labels of ‘magic’, ‘superstition’ and ‘pagan revivals’ in Late Antiquity and within this project she explores further the concept of ‘magic’ in early Christianity. She will examine the ways in which different groups of people were depicted as practitioners of magic, beginning with the accusations of magic against Christian groups and then proceeding to the Christian turn-over in which the accusations of magic were switched against Greco-Roman cults and practices.