Strangers in a Strange Land No More

Introducing the Book Review Symposium Section and Jennifer Larson’s Understanding Greek Religion (2016)


  • Leonardo Ambasciano Masaryk University
  • Panayotis Pachis Professor of Scientific Study of Religion at the Faculty of Theology of Aristotle of Thessaloniki, Greece.



Ancient history, Cognitive science of religion, Historiography, Greek history, Greek religion



Author Biography

  • Leonardo Ambasciano, Masaryk University

    Leonardo Ambasciano completed his Ph.D. on the cognitive and deep-historical re-evaluation of the ancient Roman cult of Bona Dea at the Department of Historical Studies, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy. In 2016, he was Visiting Lecturer of Religious Studies at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. He is the author of Sciamanesimo senza sciamanesimo. Le radici intellettuali del modello sciamanico di Mircea Eliade: evoluzionismo, psicoanalisi, te(le)ologia (Rome: Nuova Cultura, 2014) and of various articles and book reviews. He is the European editor of the Journal of Cognitive Historiography.


Ambasciano, L. 2015. “Mapping Pluto’s Republic: Cognitive and Epistemological Reflections on Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem”. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion 3(2): 183–205.

Ambasciano, L. 2016. “Mind the (Unbridgeable) Gaps: A Cautionary Tale about Pseudoscientific Distortions and Scientific Misconceptions in the Study of Religion”. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 28(2): 141–225.

Ambasciano, L. 2017a. “How Historiographical Floccinaucinihilipilification Is Affecting CSR 2.0”. In Religion Explained? The Cognitive Science of Religion After Twenty-Five Years, eds. L. H. Martin and D. Wiebe, 107–122. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Ambasciano, L. 2017b. “Sitting on the Bench: Is the Cognitive and Evolutionary Study of Religion a Team Sport? A Response to Wesley J. Wildman on ‘Modelling Religion and the Integration of the Sciences and the Humanities in the Bio-cultural Study of Religion’”. The Religious Studies Project, 12 October.

Barrett, J. L., and J. A. Lanman. 2008. “The Science of Religious Beliefs”. Religion 38(2): 109–24.

Beard, M. 2015. SPQR. London: Profile Books.

Beard, M., J. North and S. Price. 1998. Religions of Rome: Volume 1. A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Benavides, G. 2010. “From Need to Violence: On Walter Burkert’s Creation of the Sacred (1996)”. In Contemporary Theories of Religion: A Critical Companion, ed. M. Stausberg, 53–65. London and New York: Routledge.

Bendlin, A. 2000. “Looking Beyond the Civic Compromise: Religious Pluralism in Late Republican Rome”. In Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy: Evidence and Experience, eds. E. Bispham and C. Smith, 115–35. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Bendlin, A. 2001. “Rituals or Beliefs? ‘Religion’ and the Religious Life of Rome”. Scripta Classica Israelica 20: 191–208.

Bod, R. 2015. A New History of the Humanities: The Search for Principles and Patterns from Antiquity to the Present, trans. L. Richards. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Originally published in 2010 as De Vergeten Wetenschappen: Een Geschiedenis van de Humaniora, Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.

Bulbulia, J., and E. Slingerland. 2012. “Religious Studies as a Life Science”. Numen 59(5): 564–613.

Burkert, W. 1996. Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.

Darwin, C. R. 1872. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Sixth edition. London: John Murray.

Dennett, D. C. 2013. Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. London: Penguin.

Di Nola, A. M. ed. 1977. “Religioni, Storia delle”. In Enciclopedia di storia delle religioni, ed. A. M. Di Nola, vol. 5, coll. 260–309. Florence: Vallecchi.

Firestein, S. 2015. Ignorance: How It Drives Science. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Fox, R. L. 1986. Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World from the Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine. London: Penguin.

Franek, J. 2011. “Lucretius and the Modern Interdisciplinary Critique of Religion”. Graeco-Latina Brunensia 16(1): 15–24.

Franek, J. 2013. “Presocratic Philosophy and the Origins of Religion”. Graeco-Latina Brunensia 18(1): 57–74.

Gottschall, J. 2012. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Harrison, J. E. 1909. “The Influence of Darwinism on the Study of Religions”. In Darwin and Modern Science: Essays in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Birth of Charles Darwin and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of the Origin of Species, ed. A. C. Seward, 494–511. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harrison, T. 2015. “Belief vs. Practice”. In The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion, eds. E. Eidinow and J. Kindt, 21–28. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jensen, J. S. 2014. What Is Religion? Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Journal of Late Antiquity 1(1) 2008. (accessed 5 January 2018).

Kindt, J. 2016. “The Story of Theology and the Theology of the Story”. In Theologies of Ancient Greek Religion, ed. E. Eidinow, J. Kindt and R. Osborne, 12–34. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kirk, R. ed. 2015. “Zombies”. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), ed. E. N. Zalta.

Larson, J. 2016. Understanding Greek Religion. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Lisdorf, A. 2009. “Towards a Cognitive Historiography – Frequently Posed Objections”. In Chasing Down Religion In the Sights of History and the Cognitive Sciences, eds. P. Pachis and D. Wiebe, 209–215. Sheffield and Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing.

Mackey, J. L. 2009. “Rethinking Roman Religion: Action, Practice, and Belief”. PhD dissertation, Princeton University, USA.

Martin, L. H. 2014. Deep History, Secular Theory: Historical and Scientific Studies of Religion. Boston and Berlin: De Gruyter.

Martin, L. H. 2017. “Comparative and Historical Studies of Religions: The Return of Science”. In Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion in Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday, eds. P. Antes, A. W. Geertz and M. Rothstein, 33–46. Sheffield and Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing.

Martin, L. H., and P. Pachis, eds. 2009. Imagistic Traditions in the Graeco-Roman World: A Cognitive Modeling of History of Religious Research. Acts of the Panel Held during the XIX Congress of the International Association of History of Religions (IAHR), Tokyo, Japan, March 2005. Thessaloniki: Vanias Editions.

Martin, L. H., and J. Sørensen, eds. 2011. Past Minds: Studies in Cognitive Historiography. London and New York: Routledge.

Martin, L. H., and D. Wiebe, eds. 2016. Conversations and Controversies in the Scientific Study of Religion: Collaborative and Co-authored Essays by Luther H. Martin and Donald Wiebe. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Martin, L. H., and D. Wiebe, eds. 2017. Religion Explained? The Cognitive Science of Religion After Twenty-Five Years. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

McCauley, R. N. 2017. Philosophical Foundations of the Cognitive Science of Religion: A Head Start. With E. Thomas Lawson. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Minois, G. 1998. Histoire de l’athéisme. Les incroyants dans le monde occidental des origines à nos jours. Paris: Fayard.

Nongbri, B. 2013. Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Pachis, P. 2014. “The Discourse of a Myth: Diodorus Siculus and the Egyptian Theologoumena during the Hellenistic Age”. In Chasing Down Religion In the Sights of History and the Cognitive Sciences, eds. P. Pachis and D. Wiebe, 270–91. Sheffield and Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing.

Parker, R. 2011. On Greek Religion. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press.

Petrovic, A., and I. Petrovic. 2016. Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion. Vol. I: Early Greek Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pettazzoni, R. 1954a. “Alle origini della scienza delle religioni”. Numen 1(1): 136–37.

Pettazzoni, R. 1954b. Essays on the History of Religions, trans. H. J. Rose. Leiden: Brill.

Pew Research Center. 2017. “Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe”.

Preus, J. S. 1987. Explaining Religion: Criticism and Theory from Bodin to Freud. New York and London: Yale University Press.

Robertson, D. 2011. The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy. London: Karnac.

Roubekas, N. P. 2015. “Belief in Belief and Divine Kingship in Early Ptolemaic Egypt: The Case of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe II”. Religio: Revue pro religionistiku 23(1): 3–23.

Roubekas, N. P. 2017. An Ancient Theory of Religion: Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present. New York and Abingdon: Routledge.

Scheid, J. 2005. Quand faire, c’est croire. Les rites sacrificiels des Romains. Paris: Flammarion.

Scheidel, W. 2014. “Evolutionary Psychology and the Historian”. The American Historical Review 119(5): 1563–575.

Schiffman, Z. S. 2011. The Birth of the Past. Foreword by A. Grafton. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sharpe, E. J. 1986. Comparative Religion: A History. Second Edition. London: Duckworth & Co. First edition published in 1975.

Shryock, A., and D. L. Smail, eds. 2011. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.

Slingerland, E. 2008. What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, J. Z. 1987. To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Snow, C. P. 1961. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press. Originally published in 1959.

Stroumsa, G. G. 2010. A New Science: The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Travis, J. ed. 2009. “Natural History”. In Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, eds. M. Ruse and J. Travis, 754–55. Cambridge, MA and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Tremlin, T. 2006. Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Turner, J. 2014. Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Turner, J. H., A. Maryanski, A. K. Petersen and A. W. Geertz. 2018. The Emergence and Evolution of Religion By Means of Natural Selection. London and New York: Routledge.

Versnel, H. S. 1992. “The Festival for Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria”. Greece & Rome 39(1): 31–55.

Versnel, H. S. 2011. Coping with the Gods: Wayward Readings in Greek Theology. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Wheeler-Barclay, M. 2010. The Science of Religion in Britain, 1860–1915. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.

Whitehouse, H., and L. H. Martin, eds. 2004. Theorizing Religions Past: Archaeology, History, and Cognition. Walnut Creek, CA and Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Whitmarsh, T. 2015. Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World. London: Faber and Faber.

Wiebe, D. 1999. The Politics of Religious Studies: The Continuing Conflict with Theology in the Academy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Wiebe, D. 2017. “Claims for a Plurality of Knowledge in the Comparative Study of Religions”. In Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion in Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday, eds. P. Antes, A. W. Geertz and M. Rothstein, 181–92. Sheffield and Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing.





Book Review Symposium: Jennifer Larson's 'Understanding Greek Religion' (2016)

How to Cite

Ambasciano, L., & Pachis, P. (2018). Strangers in a Strange Land No More: Introducing the Book Review Symposium Section and Jennifer Larson’s Understanding Greek Religion (2016). Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 4(1), 10-23.