Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society / Edition 1

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Overview

Over the centuries, Paul has been understood as the prototypical convert from Judaism to Christianity. At the time of Paul’s conversion, however, Christianity did not yet exist. Moreover, Paul says nothing to indicate that he was abandoning Judaism or Israel. He, in fact, understood his mission as the fulfillment of the promises to Israel and of Israel’s own destiny. In brief, Paul’s gospel and mission were set over against the Roman Empire, not Judaism.

This anthology brings together incisive and groundbreaking essays on: 1) "The Gospel of Imperial Salvation," revealing how the imperial cult, by its dominance in urban public space, created a pervasive presence of imperial beneficence and salvation integrated into traditional Greek religion; (2) "Patronage and Power", disclosing the networks of patronage relations that held the empire together, so as to render occupying troops and imperial bureaucracy unnecessary in urbanized areas such as Corinth and Ephesus, key centers of Paul's mission, (3) "Paul's Articulation of an Alternative Gospel", discerning how Paul borrows much of the key language of the imperial religion in preaching his own gospel of a Lord who had been crucified by imperial rulers but vindicated by God as the true universal Lord, (4) "The Assemblies of an Alternative International Society," exploring ways in which the assemblies Paul founded in Asia Minor and Greece were to embody patterns alternative to the hierarchical human relations that dominated Roman imperial society.

Richard A. Horsley is Professor of Classics and Religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is author of Galilee: History, Politics, People and Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee: Social Context of Jesus and the Rabbis, both published by Trinity Press International.

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Editorial Reviews

The Journal of Religion
...the individual essays...offer students and scholars of religion a valuable window into Roman imperial society.
Trinity Seminary Review
...outstanding collection of essays. To understand the New Testament-in the case of this book, Paul-the reader is immediately drawn into a highly charged political atmosphere. The Horsley collection provides an assembly of groundbreaking, almost classical articles that are in many cases not readily available.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563382178
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,090,799
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard A. Horlsey is Professor of Classics and Religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is author of Galilee: History, Politics, People; Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee: The Social Context of Jesus and the Rabbis; and editor of Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society, all published by Trinity Press.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
General Introduction 1
1 Laus Imperii 25
2 Who Is the True Prophet? 36
3 Rituals and Power 47
4 The Power of Images 72
5 Patronal Power Relations 96
6 Patronage in Roman Corinth 104
7 The Veil of Power 126
8 God Turned Upside Down 148
9 Imperial Ideology and Paul's Eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 158
10 The Anti-Imperial Message of the Cross 167
11 Romans 13:1-7 in the Context of Imperial Propaganda 184
12 The Imperial Cults of Thessalonica and Political Conflict in 1 Thessalonians 215
13 The Praxis of Coequal Discipleship 224
14 1 Corinthians: A Case Study of Paul's Assembly as an Alternative Society 242
Index 253
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