The Myth of Sacred
Prostitution in Antiquity

Stephanie Lynn Budin

366 Blz., ISBN 978 0 521 17804 4     
Cambridge University Press, 2008 - 2010     

In this study, Stephanie Lynn Budin demonstrates that sacred prostitution, the sale of a person´s body for sex in which some or all of the money earned was devoted to a deity or a temple, did not exist in the ancient world. Reconsidering the evidence from the ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman texts, and the early Christian authors, Budin shows that the majority of sources that have traditionally been understood as pertaining to sacred prostitution actually have nothing to do with this institution.
The few texts that are usually invoked on the subject are, moreover, terribly misunderstood. Futhermore, contrary to many current hypotheses, the creation of the myth of sacred prostitution has nothing to do with notions of accusation or the construction of a decadent, Oriental "Other."
Instead, the myth has come into being as a result of more than 2000 years of misinterpretations, false assumptions, and faulty methodology. The study of sacred prostitution is, effectiviley, a historiographical reckoning.

Stephanie Lynn Budin received her Ph.D. in ancient history from the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in Greece and the ancient Near East. She is the author of The Origin of Aphrodite (2003) and numerous articles on ancient religion and iconography. She has delivered papers in Athens, Dublin, Jerusalem, London, Nicosia, Oldenburg, and Stockholm, as well as various cities throughout the United States.

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