345 pages
English

Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity

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Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity discusses the diverse cultural destinies of early Christianity, early Judaism, and other ancient religious groups as a question of social rivalry.

The book is divided into three main sections. The first section debates the degree to which the category of rivalry adequately names the issue(s) that must be addressed when comparing and contrasting the social “success” of different religious groups in antiquity. The second is a critical assessment of the common modern category of “mission” to describe the inner dynamic of such a process; it discusses the early Christian apostle Paul, the early Jewish historian Josephus, and ancient Mithraism. The third section of the book is devoted to “the rise of Christianity,” primarily in response to the similarly titled work of the American sociologist of religion Rodney Stark.

While it is not clear that any of these groups imagined its own success necessarily entailing the elimination of others, it does seem that early Christianity had certain habits, both of speech and practice, which made it particularly apt to succeed (in) the Roman Empire.


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Date de parution 21 avril 2006
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780889205369
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity
Studies in Christianity and Judaism / Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme : 18
Studies in Christianity and Judaism / Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme publishes monographs on Christianity and Judaism in the last two centuries before the common era and the first six centuries of the com-mon era, with a special interest in studies of their interrelationship or the cultural and social context in which they developed.
GENERALEDITOR: EDITORIALBOARD:
Stephen G. Wilson
Paula Fredrickson John Gager Olivette Genest Paul-Hubert Poirier Adele Reinhartz
Carleton University
Boston University Princeton University Université de Montréal Université Laval University of Ottawa
Studies in Christianity and Judaism / Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme : 18
Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity
Leif E. Vaage,editor
Published for the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion/ Corporation Canadienne des Sciences Religieuses by Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2006
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Aid to Scholarly Publications Programme, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for our publishing activities.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Religious rivalries in the early Roman empire and the rise of christianity / Leif E. Vaage, editor.
(Studies in Christianity and Judaism / Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme ; 18) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-88920-449-2 ISBN-10: 0-88920-449-7
1. Church history—Primitive and early church, ca. 30–600. 2. Christianity and other religions—Roman. 3. Rome—Religion. I. Vaage, Leif E. II. Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion III. Series: Studies in Christianity and Judaism ; 18
BL96.R46 2006
270.1
C2006-900249-5
© 2006 Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion / Corporation Canadienne des Sciences Religieuses and Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Cover design by P.J. Woodland. Cover photograph of the interior of the Pantheon in Rome courtesy of John Straube. Text design by Catharine Bonas-Taylor.
Printed in Canada
Every reasonable effort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to the publisher’s attention will be corrected in future printings.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmit-ted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit www.accesscopyright.ca or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.
Contents
Acknowledgmentsvii Prefaceix Abbreviationsxv
PART IRIVALRIES? 1 Ancient Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success: Christians, Jews, and Others in the Early Roman Empire Leif E. Vaage3 2 The DecliningPolis? Religious Rivalries in Ancient Civic Context Philip A. Harland21 3 Rivalry and Defection Stephen G. Wilson51 4 Is the Pagan Fair Fairly Dangerous? Jewish-Pagan Relations in Antiquity Reena Basser73 5 My Rival, My Fellow: Conceptual and Methodological Prolegomena to Mapping Inter-Religious Relations in 2nd- and 3rd-CenturyCELevantine Society Using the Evidence of Early Rabbinic Texts Jack N. Lightstone85
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CONTENTS
PART IIMISSION? “The Field God Has Assigned”: Geography and Mission in Paul Terence L. Donaldson109 TheContra Apionemin Social and Literary Context: An Invitation to Judean Philosophy Steve Mason139 On Becoming a Mithraist: New Evidence for the Propagation of the Mysteries Roger Beck175
PART IIIRISE? Rodney Stark and “The Mission to the Jews” Adele Reinhartz197 “Look How They Love One Another”: Early Christian and Pagan Care for the Sick and Other Charity Steven C. Muir213 The Religious Market of the Roman Empire: Rodney Stark and Christianity’s Pagan Competition Roger Beck233 Why Christianity Succeeded (in) the Roman Empire Leif E. Vaage253 Works Cited279 Ancient Sources Index305 Ancient Names Index318 Modern Names Index322
Acknowledgments
First of all, the editor wishes to thank all the contributors to this volume for their ready cooperation and sorely tested patience over the last few years; completion of the project has been “a long time coming,” due, in part, to circumstances beyond my control, and I am exceedingly grate-ful to everyone who has awaited publication as generously as you all have. On two separate occasions, I received financial assistance from Emmanuel College (Centre for the Study of Religion in Canada) and Victoria Univer-sity (Senate Research Grants) to pay for student support in preparing the manuscript, which I am eager here to acknowledge. My student assistants, Dr. Stephen Chambers and Ms. Karen Williams, able and professional in the performance of their various assignments, are both unrivalled in their cor-diality and decency. Finally, I wish to thank Prof. Peter Richardson for his sustained commitment to the project and Prof. Stephen Wilson for his final “maieutic” nudging. In all these instances, the rivalries to which the vol-ume as a whole is dedicated have been graciously absent.
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Preface
This book is about religious rivalries in the early Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity. The book is divided into three parts. The first part debates the degree to which the category of rivalry adequately names the issue(s) that must be addressed when comparing and contrasting the social success of different religious groups in Mediterranean antiquity. Some scholars insist on the need for additional registers; others consider it important not only to contemplate success but also failure and loss; yet others treat specific cases. The second part of the book provides a critical assessment of the modern category of mission to describe the inner dynam-ics of such a process. Discussed are the early Christian apostle Paul, who typ-ically is supposed to have been a missionary; the early Jewish historian Josephus, who typically is not described in this way; and ancient Mithraism, whose spread and social reproduction has heretofore remained a mystery. Finally, part 3 of the book discusses “the rise of Christianity,” largely in response to the similarly titled work of the American sociologist of reli-gion Rodney Stark. The book as a whole renders more complex and con-crete the social histories of Christianity, Judaism, and paganism in the early Roman Empire. None of these groups succeeded merely by winning a given competition. It is not clear that any of them imagined its own suc-cess necessarily to entail the elimination of others. It does seem, however, that early Christianity had certain habits both of speech and of practice, which made it particularly apt to succeed (in) the Roman Empire. The book is about rivalries in the plural, since there are many: sibling, imperial, professional, psychological, to name but a few. Each of these has
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