Back to Main Entry

Reviews of Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology: Illustrated Expanded Edition

“A topnotch book.”

The New Yorker

“Finley presents his arguments with exemplary lucidity and a measure of good common sense. … This may well be Finley’s best book.”

The American Historical Review

“An expansion of the 1980 edition that adds two essays by Finley. The first essay (‘Problems of Slave Society’) contains Finley’s replies to critiques of his book at a colloquium in Rome (1981). The second essay (‘Slavery and the Historians’) is a plenary address that Finley originally presented to the Learned Societies of Canada in 1979. In it he elaborates the arguments in his book, but he also compares ideological correlations between historical studies of slavery in the Greco-Roman world with studies of the late 1970s of slavery in the antebellum South. Brent D. Shaw, editor, contextualizes Finley’s work with a substantial introduction. He lifts out both what has endured of Finley’s conclusions and what the pressing issues still are in the study of slavery in the Greco-Roman world. Scholars in religious studies will want to note Shaw’s conclusion about the ‘abuse’ of ‘Christian ideology’ in the study of ancient slavery, an ideology that ‘systematically misreads the situation: “There is no longer any ‘serious argument'”‘ about the amelioration of slavery because of Christian influence, except among ‘scholars writing from a Christian viewpoint, or, more recently, from a “Religious Studies” perspective.’ A crucial book for all scholars of the Greco-Roman world.”

Religious Studies Review