Encountering goddesses in late antiquity: notes on metamorphoses of mythic figures in religious storytelling

Reuven Kiperwasser, Serge Ruzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The imagined universe of the people of Late Antiquity was heavily populated by gods. Even the broader philosophical trends and monotheistic foundation of Judaism and Christianity had failed to entirely diminish their power. How then did Jews and Christians cope with such a backdrop presence of “other gods”? Earlier research suggested that Jewish attitudes, which found their way into early Christian sources as well, fluctuate between accommodation and rejection. Following analysis of Jewish and Christian Late Antique literary traditions dealing with gods, and more specifically, goddesses, this article aims to demonstrate that such “fluctuation” resulted – in addition to the extreme positions – in a variety of middle of the road strategies. These strategies point to a keen harmonizing impulse to absorb—via domestication—motifs with mythic religious vitality from the broader cultural repository.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Late Antique Religion and Culture
StatePublished - 2023

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Goddesses -- History
  • Rabbinical literature -- History and criticism
  • Christian literature, Early -- History and criticism
  • Judaism -- History of doctrines
  • Christianity -- History of doctrines
  • Myth
  • Polytheism -- History


Dive into the research topics of 'Encountering goddesses in late antiquity: notes on metamorphoses of mythic figures in religious storytelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this