The 'Orphic' gold tablets, tiny scraps of gold foil found in graves throughout the ancient Greek world, are some of the most fascinating and baffling pieces of evidence for ancient Greek religion. This collection brings together a number of previously published and unpublished studies from scholars around the world, making accessible to a wider audience some of the new methodologies being applied to the study of these tablets. The volume also contains an updated edition of the tablet texts, reflecting the most recent discoveries and accompanied by English translations and critical apparatus. This survey of trends in the scholarship, with an up-to-date bibliography, not only provides an introduction to the serious study of the tablets, but also illuminates their place within scholarship on ancient Greek religion.
Radcliffe G. Edmonds III is an Associate Professor in the Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College. He is the author of Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes and the 'Orphic' Gold Tablets (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Acknowledgements; List of contributors; Part I. The Tablet Texts: 1. Who are you? A brief history of the scholarship Radcliffe G. Edmonds III; 2. The 'Orphic' gold tablets - texts and translations, with critical apparatus and tables Radcliffe G. Edmonds III; Part II. Texts and Contexts: 3. Text and ritual: the corpus eschatologicum of the Orphics Fritz Graf; 4. Are the Orphic gold leaves Orphic? Alberto Bernabe and Ana Jimenez San Cristobal; 5. 'A Child Of Earth Am I And Of Starry Heaven' concerning the anthropology of man in the Orphic gold tablets Hans Dieter Betz (translated by Maria Sturm); 6. Common motifs in the 'Orphic' B tablets and Egyptian funerary texts: continuity or convergence? Thomas M. Dousa; 7. Centre, periphery, or peripheral centre: a Cretan connection for the gold lamellae of Crete Yannis Tzifopoulos; Part III. Semiotic and Narrative Analyses: 8. 'Orphic' invocations and commentaries: funerary transpositions of religious discourse Claude Calame (translated by Sarah Melker); 9. Initiation - death - underworld: narrative and ritual in the gold leaves Christoph Riedweg; 10. Sacred scripture or oracles for the dead: the semiotic situation of the 'Orphic' gold tablets Radcliffe G. Edmonds III; 11. Dialogues of immortality from the Iliad to the golden leaves Miguel Herrero de Jauregui; 12. Poetry and performance in the Orphic gold leaves Dirk Obbink; 13. Rushing into milk: new perspectives on the gold tablets Christopher Faraone; Index; Index locorum; Bibliography of scholarship on the tablets.