Cover

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Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This book is the culmination of the instruction, support, and friendship I have received from mentors, colleagues, editors, and family during my doctoral studies at Harvard University. I am thankful for my doctoral advisor, Karen L. King, whose invaluable insight guided the development and articulation of my arguments. I could not ask for a more attentive, encouraging, and sagacious mentor. I am grateful for Laura S. Nasrallah, who took me under her wings...

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: The Politics of Piety in the Pastoral Epistles

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pp. 1-12

Ancient Christian leaders faced several challenges that threatened the sustainability of the fledgling movement during the early second century C.E. Two of the foremost problems were the perception among Greek and Roman neighbors that Christians promoted a barbaric and subversive superstition that threatened conventional social values and the internal divisions within local Christian assemblies (ekklēsia)1 over what constituted correct doctrine, practice, and institutional hierarchies. Our extant sources...

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Chapter 1. Piety in Caesar's House

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pp. 13-54

After the Roman emperor Augustus’ death on September 2/3, 14 C.E., and in accordance with his will, his Res gestae divi Augusti (Accomplishments of the Divine Augustus) were memorialized across the Roman Empire. Within the capital they were read before the Senate, engraved upon two bronze tablets, and inscribed upon pillars that may have marked an entrance gate into the mausoleum located at the Campus Martius adjacent to the Tiber River. Across Rome’s conquered provinces the Res gestae were copied...

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Chapter 2. Piety in God's House

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pp. 55-110

First Timothy contains some of the clearest uses of piety in the Pastorals that would have signaled to ancient audiences an appeal to Roman pietas.1 The author admonishes the ekklēsia to pray for governing authorities so that they might live a life “in all piety” (ἐν πάση εὐσεβείᾳ; 1 Tim 2:1-2) and for its women to embody behavior that befits both “piety toward God” (θεοσέβειαν; 1 Tim 2:10) and “the household of God” (οἶκος θεοῦ; 1 Tim 3:15), including modesty, deference to men, and childbearing, which resonates with obligations toward the...

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Chapter 3. Honoring Piety in the City

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pp. 111-126

Ancient provincial cityscapes comprised sites not only for memorializing the piety associated with the emperor’s household but also for publicly recognizing the piety and generosity of wealthy benefactors. Honorary inscriptions commemorating the benefaction and service of elites can elucidate the intersecting cultural assumptions concerning piety, wealth, patronage, and authority that framed 1  Timothy’s admonitions to the wealthy and defamation of rival teachers (1 Tim 6:3-19). In order to better understand these sociopolitical dynamics that framed the rhetoric of piety within 1 Timothy...

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Chapter 4. Honoring Piety in the Ekklesia

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pp. 127-148

In First Timothy 6, the themes of piety, wealth, benefaction, and patronage converge in the author’s closing admonishments against rival teachers and about the responsibilities of the rich. According to the author, there is great gain (πορισμὸς μέγας) in piety (εὐσέβεια) (1 Tim 6:6) that orients the ekklēsia away from “senseless and harmful desires” to acquire wealth and material possessions, which “plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6:9). Those whose teachings contrast against the “sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim...

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Chapter 5. The Mystery of Philosophical Piety

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pp. 149-178

In First Timothy 3:14-16, piety is juxtaposed to the author’s claim to possess a distinctive understanding about the true nature of the divine. After confidently describing the ekklēsia as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15), he then elaborates:

καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον.
ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί,
ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι,...

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Chapter 6. The Mystery of Pastoral Piety

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pp. 179-204

An interpretation of the rhetorical aims and effects of the author of 1 Timothy’s description of the ekklēsia’s truth as the “mystery of piety” (1 Tim 3:16) depends upon an understanding of the kinds of cultural meanings that were possibly activated by appeals to “mystery” and “piety” for ancient audiences. In general, the immediate literary context of 1 Timothy and, more broadly, the writings of the New Testament and Hellenistic Judaism have served as the principal contexts for determining the possible meaning and significance...

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Conclusion: A Pious and Civilized Christian in the Roman Empire

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pp. 205-218

Reading the Pastoral Epistles, especially 1  Timothy, among ancient, analogous rhetorical uses of piety allows modern readers to appreciate the polyphonic resonances of the Pastorals’ claims to piety. These resonances, in turn, attune modern ears to the cultural significance and polemic that attended the author’s appeal to piety, which ancient audiences would have recognized. Although our untrained ears have been deaf to such tones, given modern assumptions about the relative triteness of claims to...

Bibliography

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pp. 219-244

Index

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pp. 245-252