The Books of Numa: Writing, Tradition, and the Making of Roman Religion


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




The emergence of a written intellectual discourse on Roman religion in the final two centuries BCE fundamentally altered Roman understandings of their own religious tradition. To understand the emergence of this discourse and its effects, this project examines the writing and reading of systematizing books on Roman religion between the second century BCE and late antiquity. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, including Roman, Greek, and early Christian literature, this study argues that intellectual writing was the site for the elite construction of "Roman religion" as a closed system. In order to clarify the relationship between text, ritual, and theology, the dissertation also proposes a comparison between Roman evidence and the early Rabbinic textualization of Judaism.