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

349 Pages · 2008 · 2.93 MB · 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 00_vaage_fm.qxd 2006/03/24 9:41 AM Page ii


    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.


    GENERAL EDITOR: Stephen G. Wilson Carleton University


    EDITORIAL BOARD: Paula Fredrickson Boston University


    John Gager Princeton University


    Olivette Genest Université de Montréal


    Paul-Hubert Poirier Université Laval


    Adele Reinhartz University of Ottawa 00_vaage_fm.qxd 2006/03/24 9:41 AM Page iii


    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 00_vaage_fm.qxd 2006/03/24 9:41 AM Page iv


    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. 00_vaage_fm.qxd 2006/03/24 9:41 AM Page v


    Contents


    Acknowledgments•vii


    Preface•ix


    Abbreviations•xv


    PART I •RIVALRIES?


    1 Ancient Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success:


    Christians, Jews, and Others in the Early Roman Empire


    Leif E. Vaage•3


    2 The Declining Polis? Religious Rivalries in Ancient Civic


    Context


    Philip A. Harland•21


    3 Rivalry and Defection


    Stephen G. Wilson•51


    4 Is the Pagan Fair Fairly Dangerous? Jewish-Pagan Relations


    in Antiquity


    Reena Basser•73


    5 My Rival, My Fellow: Conceptual and Methodological


    Prolegomena to Mapping Inter-Religious Relations in


    2nd- and 3rd-Century CELevantine Society Using the


    Evidence of Early Rabbinic Texts


    Jack N. Lightstone•85


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    vi CONTENTS


    PART II •MISSION?


    6 “The Field God Has Assigned”: Geography and Mission in Paul


    Terence L. Donaldson•109


    7 The Contra Apionemin Social and Literary Context: An Invitation


    to Judean Philosophy


    Steve Mason•139


    8 On Becoming a Mithraist: New Evidence for the Propagation


    of the Mysteries


    Roger Beck•175


    PART III •RISE?


    9 Rodney Stark and “The Mission to the Jews”


    Adele Reinhartz•197


    10 “Look How They Love One Another”: Early Christian and Pagan


    Care for the Sick and Other Charity


    Steven C. Muir•213


    11 The Religious Market of the Roman Empire: Rodney Stark and


    Christianity’s Pagan Competition


    Roger Beck•233


    12 Why Christianity Succeeded (in) the Roman Empire


    Leif E. Vaage•253


    Works Cited•279


    Ancient Sources Index•305


    Ancient Names Index•318


    Modern Names Index•322 00_vaage_fm.qxd 2006/03/24 9:41 AM Page vii


    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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