An interview with Molly Greene, author of The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire

Last but not least in our series of interviews with shortlisted authors is Molly Greene, previous winner of the Runciman Award and author of The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire. We hope you have enjoyed these interviews, which have allowed us to probe a little and shed light on … Read moreAn interview with Molly Greene, author of The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire

An excerpt from The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire by Molly Greene

Thessaly Thessaly is not a destination in today’s Greece. A hot and humid plain for much of the year, with undistinguished provincial towns, it lacks the attractions that other parts of the country possess in abundance. But it is in Thessaly that we will begin our story, for two reasons. First, it was there that, … Read moreAn excerpt from The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire by Molly Greene

An interview with Tim Whitmarsh, author of Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

Tim Whitmarsh, author of shortlisted work Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World, kindly agreed to an interview.

The title of your book conveys less than it might. You say a lot about belief as well as disbelief: the nature of the ancient Greeks’ belief in their gods, and about their practice of religion, and about “putting the gods in their place”. Could you expand on the title for us in a few lines to convey this wider range?

Yes, it’s a book about both continuity and difference. That’s to say, there are aspects of ancient Greek atheism that are certainly very recognisable now: the centrality of the argument from evil, for example (how could a benevolent, omnipotent deity permit suffering?) But as you imply, the ancient Greco-Roman religious context was very different to anything we find in the modern world, and that does affect the forms in which atheism was expressed. Ancient religions were polytheistic, largely local, based in communal ritual rather than scripture; and priests had less of a hold over personal morality.

Read moreAn interview with Tim Whitmarsh, author of Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

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