This week we are delighted to bring you the first of four interviews on ancient religious scepticism, hosted by our guest interviewer Tim Whitmarsh of the University of Oxford.
In this first interview Tim talks to Guy Stroumsa, Professor of the Study of Abrahamic Religions at Oxford University and Martin Buber Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Guy tells us about his work on the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), focussing on the complex and often polemical relationship between these religions in late antiquity. He explains, for instance, how rhetoric used by Christians against Jews was subsequently taken up by Islam to shape its relationships with Judaism and Christianity, and how the polemical rhetoric used by representatives of all these faiths was often a defensive or ‘protective’ language, directed at their fellow believers. At the end of the interview Guy also talks about how members of the Abrahamic faiths perceived Greek and Roman pagan polytheists: that is, as ‘atheists’ (atheoi – those who are without the true God) or (in Jewish Rabbinic literature) as Epicureans.
Click on the image below or follow this link to watch the interview!