Roman Imperial Texts
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Neil Elliott suggested this volume, and showed real encouragement and
patience with me during its gestation period. In addition, Neil’s editing of the
work has made it a better product than it would be if I were working alone. I
wish to register my sincere thanks to him.
I wish to thank other staff of Fortress Press, Lisa Gruenisen, and copyeditor Jeff Reimer for their patience...
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This is a sourcebook of Roman texts for readers of the New Testament. Itis a supplement to one s reading of the New Testament, a tool to promptconsideration of how its texts relate to the Roman Empire and how theChristianities that grew out of the communities behind those texts came torelatetothestate.AlookatthetextsandimagesfromtheRomanPrincipatethat...
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The Gospels in our New Testament are famously di?cult to categorize asliterature.Di erentfrommostbiographies,theyconcentrateoneventsleadingtoJesus death.ThecanonicalGospelsdi eramongthemselvesonthebestwaytopresentJesus teachings,andstillagaintheydi erfromsomeofthemoresayings-orientedGospelsproducedbyotherChristians,suchasthe Gospel of...
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The Deeds Accomplished by the Divine Augustus,or Res Gestae Divi Augusti,isdidfortheRomanpeopleandtheworld.Scholarshavethoroughlydebatedtheprecedents for Augustus s statement. After considering funerary inscriptions,celebratory inscriptions for military triumphs, or even the possibility thatAugustus wrote the Res Gestae as support for his eventual apotheosis, John...
The Emperor: Source of Deified Virtues, Predestined Son of God
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The worlds in which the Gospels were composed and circulated were ?lledavoid these messages. It is useful to consider how the gospel regarding Jesusthe Gospels were written, the idea that the Roman Caesar was the sourceor agent of divine virtues had roots in Greek political thought and in theRomanRepublic.Theemperorwasthemostcentralfocalpointofthereligious...
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The emperor in the ?rst century was known as the Divi Filius God s Son.Julius Caesar accepted many divine honors in Rome while alive, a tacticalmistake that his adopted son, the ?rst emperor, Augustus made sure not torepeat.1 Augustuswaso?ciallydeclaredtohavebecomeagod theprocessishad done when Augustus uncle, Julius Caesar was assassinated. He also was...
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...came. He is famous for insisting on his divine status while still ruling.InthefollowingselectionfromSuetonius,wereadofCaligula spublicworksan amphitheater near the voting enclosure; Claudius his successorMiletus, establish a city on an ridge in the alps, but beyond all to1.Suetonius,Cal.21 22.4; mytranslation of Latin text found inSuetonius, ed. and trans. Rolfe....
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Gaius Caligula was killed by his own praetorian guard in 41. Men from thepraetorianguardalsotooktheinitiativeto?ndandacclaimClaudius,theunclepieces each during this passage of power. From this transition onward, thesupportofthepraetorianswouldbeessentialforaspiringemperors.Whilethepretextofhereditarysuccessionbyabiologicaloradoptedsonwouldremain,...
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NerowastheadoptedsonofClaudius.WeshallhaveoccasiontoreadabouthispersecutionofChristiansinthethirdsectionofthissourcebook,buthereweIn most parts of the Mediterranean, Rome and her divine sons were knownbytherepresentativessenttogoverntheprovinces.InthisinscriptionfromastelenearthepyramidsofEgypt,villagerslaudNeroandhispopularprefect...
Year of the Four Emperors
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...includedtheideasthatpeaceandsecurityhadbeenachieved.WehavealreadyviewacoinissuedshortlyafterPaul sdeath,duringthethreemonthsinwhichOtho,CaesarAugustus,[holds]tribunicianpower. ThecurlsinOtho shairaretoremindpeopleofNero shairstyle.Onthereverseside,aroundthedei?edvirtue Security, who is holding a wreath and a scepter to show her absolute...
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Vespasian came to power after the last of those vying for power, Vitellius,hadbeenassassinated.ForreadersoftheNewTestament,itissigni?cantthatVespasian was in Judea, working to bring the Roman peace upon the FirstThis excerpt from Suetonius biography illustrates di erent conceptions ofthe expectation that a ruler would arise from Judea, the context of the First...
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After Vespasian s death, his older son Titus succeeded to rule the RomanburninganddestructionoftheJerusalemtemple.InthebiographyofSuetonius,welearnofhiscompassionateandrespectfulattitudestowardtheRomanpeopleandhisgenerosity.Titusisperhapsoneofthebestcandidatesinthe?rstcenturyofthePrincipateforbeingapopular,generousemperor.Hereisasectionthat...
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AlmosttwelveyearsyoungerthanhisbrotherTitus,Domitiancontinuedthecarefuloversightofinfrastructurefortheempireandprovincesforwhichhisfather and brother were known. He is notorious for his autocratic and self-serving tenure in o?ce, and is the only emperor in the Principate whoseSmyrnaandIlica,inAsiaMinor.NotethetitlesaccordedtoDomitian.Thetitle...
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AftertheassassinationofDomitianin96,anolderstatesmannamedNervawasbroughttothePrincipate.Heprovedtobeincompetentandwasassassinatedin98.Trajanassumedpowerin98andearnedthepraiseofthehistorianTacitus,Inthisspeechfromtheyear100??,Pliny,whohasjustbeenappointedconsulby Trajan, gushes with praise over the modest way that Trajan assumed the...
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EmperorswerenottheonlypersonsacclaimedasdivineduringthePrincipate.We have already noted in passing above that Livia, wife of Augustus andtheemperorClaudius.LiviahadalreadybeengivenspecialhonorsbyAugustuswhilehewasalive;itwasawayofglorifyinghisownperson.Emperors wivesmanwhoservedtheemperorHadrian.Theirrelationshipdatesfromaboutthe...
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The main idea in this section, Identity in Community, has been thatparticipation in the communities of urbs, collegium, and domus provided theNewTestament sauthorsand?rstreaderswiththeirrespectiveidentities.Theseidentitieswereconstructednotsimplybythecorrelativerelationshipofbeingsimilar to everyone else in each community, but also in an individual s...
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IdentityconsistedincommunityfortheRomans,aswellasfortheSemiticandGreekculturesoftheMediterraneanworldinthetimeofthePrincipate.Alltheseculturesviewedaperson sidentityascomposedprimarilyofthegroupsliteratureandculturalartifacts.Wewillmoveinthisintroductory discussionfromabriefconsiderationofasceneinHomer sOdysseytoafoundationaltext...
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I am a Jewish man, from Tarsus of Cilicia, a citizen of no little city, Paulsays to the Roman o?cer in the scene the book of Acts paints for his arrestin Jerusalem (Acts 21:39). The identi?ers are what we would expect. Anyinhabitant of the Mediterranean world would consider citizenship in a goodcityequivalenttohavingvirtue.ThefollowingsayingfromtheRomanStoic...
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Like certain governments today, Rome was uneasy with allowing people toassemblewhentheirgrouphadnolicensefromtheauthoritiestodoso.VariouskindsofsocialgroupsformedintheGreekandRomanworldstoprovidesocialsupportfortheirmembers:tradeguildsrepresentedtheeconomicinterestsoftheirmembersandcaredforwidows;burialclubsprovidedfuneralsandsupport...
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...itself,andthewaysinwhichitkepttheworldinitsgrip.Itin?uencedtheworldRevelation, this is the section of the sourcebook with which to begin.Rev. 17:7-18), a reference that in the ?rst century ce indicated the city ofRome. And just as Babylon stands for Rome in 1 Pet. 5:13 and in 4 Ezra(also called 2 Esdras), which was written by a Jew around the year 100 ??,...
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WarwasoneoftheRomans distinctivearts,signaledclearlyatthebeginningofVirgil s Aeneid.PublishedafterVirgil sdeathin19???,thispoemanchorsmythical founder of Rome followed destiny to found Rome through warfare.InthefamouschargethatAnchises,thefatherofAeneas,givestohisson,everyoneoftheRomanwaysidenti?edpresupposestheactivityofwar.Idatethisto...
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Rome also held sway over the world by its commerce, including its taxation.ThisselectionisofinterestnotsimplyforshowinghowDomitiantookmoneyfromtheJewsbutalsoforSuetonius sdescriptionofthoseJewswhosoughttopaytheJewishtax?Onceagain,ifthereisnoantecedentfor he and him inSuetonius sbiographies,theyrefertotheemperorheischronicling,inthiscase,...
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...andRoman Italy, Rome actively sponsored games both inthe eternal city andarounditsempire.Aswewillnowsee,thegamesweremorethanentertainment;Artistic and athletic competitions provided amedium through which toconnect the Mediterranean world to the mythic web that was so crucial inone hundred years, so that no person could see them more than once in a...
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Forbetterorworse,theemperorscaughttheinterestand?redtheimaginationof people in the Mediterranean world. In this section, we examine both theconcrete actions by which emperors ruled, and the stories or myths thathim to be the emperor of a form of government di erent from the Republic.In the following selection, from the biography by Suetonius, we can see...
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RevelationmaintainsthatChristisabovealllordsandkings(Rev. 17:16; 19:16).confrontedbythewritersoftheNewTestamentiscontested,asdiscussedintheintroduction to this sourcebook. But reading the Roman texts and viewing itsimagesthatarecontemporarytotheNewTestament scompositionsharpensourfocusonwhatwasatstake,atleastforsomeintheRomanPrincipate,whenthey...
Index of Subjects
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Index of Names
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Index of Ancient Sources
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013