Noel Putnik, PhD, research associate of the SASA Institute of Ethnography, will give a lecture entitled “Journey of Souls: Shamanism in Ancient Greece?” at 11:00, on Wednesday, April 26th. The lecture will present the influential theory of shamanism among the ancient Greeks, which developed mainly among classical philologists and historians of ancient religions during the first half of the 20th century. According to this theory, certain aspects of archaic Greek religion can be interpreted as mediated forms of Asian shamanism. Those are primarily the aspects that concern the divine inspiration (enthousiasmos) in the broadest sense, divination, healing and out-of-body journeys (the motif of the so-called soul flight). The theory of Greek shamanism had a turbulent path in the world of science, recruiting numerous followers as well as opponents to this day. It is of special importance that decades-long debates on the topic penetrate the more general anthropological problems of the study of religions, i.e. questions of context and positions from which science in general approaches the study of religions. Noel Putnik, PhD, will briefly present the genesis of the theory of Greek shamanism, with a review of several of the most important ancient literary testimonies and their interpretations. The main critiques of the theory will be presented, while, in the final part of the lecture, a review of a wider historical and cultural context of the formation of the theory that indicates possible reasons for the “shamanic” interpretation of Greek religion of the archaic era will be given.

The lecture will be held in the SASA Institute of Ethnography (Knez Mihailova 36), 1st floor, and room 102.

Predavanje će biti održano u zgradi SANU (Knez Mihailova 36), 1. sprat, sala 102.