New Books Network

In this episode, we talk with Michael Gubser about the pioneering art historian Alois Riegl, one of Eisler’s teachers in Vienna and a major...

In this episode, we talk with Michael Gubser about the pioneering art historian Alois Riegl, one of Eisler’s teachers in Vienna and a major influence on his thought. Then we look at Eisler’s first work on the history of religions, World Mantle and Heavenly Canopy, a massive two-volume study of ancient cosmology published in 1910. In the second half, we turn to Orpheus the Fisher: Comparative Studies in Orphic and Early Christian Cult Symbolism, larger questions about the figure of Orpheus and the idea of a widespread cult devoted to his worship in the ancient world, and even larger questions about what we can learn from “outdated” scholarship.

Voice of Robert Eisler: Caleb Crawford

Additional voices: Brian Evans

Music: “Shibbolet Baseda,” recorded by Elyakum Shapirra and His Israeli Orchestra.

Guests: Michael Gubser (James Madison University) Vladimir Marchenkov (Ohio University School of Interdisciplinary Arts) and Radcliffe G. Edmonds, III (Paul Shorey Professor of Greek and Chair of the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College)

Funding provided by the Ohio University Humanities Research Fund and the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College Internship Program.

Special thanks to the Warburg Institute and the Griffith Institute at the University of Oxford.

Bibliography and Further Reading

–Edmonds, Radcliffe G. Redefining Ancient Orphism: A Study in Greek Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
–Eisler, Robert. Orpheus the Fisher: Comparative Studies in Orphic and Early Christian Cult  Symbolism. London: J. M. Watkins, 1921.
———. Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt: Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur
Urgeschichte des antiken Weltbildes. [World Cloak and Heavenly Canopy: Investigations into the Ancient Worldview through the History of Religions].Two Volumes. Munich: Oscar Beck, 1910.
 –Gubser, Michael. Time’s Visible Surface: Alois Riegl and the Discourse on History and Temporality in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. Detroit: Wayne State Press, 2006.
–Marchenkov, Vladimir. The Orpheus Myth and the Powers of Music. Hillsdale, NY : Pendragon Press, 2009.

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Associate Professor Brian Collins is the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University. He can be reached at collinb1@ohio,edu.