Book Notice | BYU Studies

Book Notice

February 23, 2017
Book Notice
Utopian Communities of the Ancient World
John W. Welch

This daily feature is an introduction to a full book notice by John W. Welch. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.

It is often said, and not only by classicists, that in order to understand the modern world a person must learn to understand the ancient world. Fascination with antiquity has not diminished in the digital postmodern age, perhaps because people are wondering more and more what life is really all about and what chance there might now be in the age of instant worldwide communication and interdependent global economies to achieve a truly cooperative state of affairs among all peoples of the earth.

Into this picture comes the work of Brent Schmidt on the use of covenantal rituals and practices by several groups in the ancient Mediterranean and the formation, organization, and actualization of their communal or utopian societies. Seeing the roles that sacred rituals played in the life of these utopian groups opens new perspectives on these ancient groups and will be of interest to many readers. The experiments of these groups were not limited to the ivory towers of philosophy. Their members moved heaven and earth to carry out their devout plans and lofty dreams.