Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Imperial Cult and the New Testament

The latest issue of JSNT (27.3 [2005]: 251-376) is dedicated to the NT and the Imperial Cult. Articles include:

David G. Horrell - "Introduction"

James S. McLaren - "Jews and the Imperial Cult: From Augustus to Domitian"

C. Kavin Rowe - "Luke-Acts and the Imperial Cult: A Way Through the Conundrum?"

Peter Oakes - "Re-mapping the Universe: Paul and the Emperor in 1 Thessalonians and Philippians"

Harry O. Maier - "A Sly Civility: Colossians and Empire"

Steven J. Friesen - "Satan's Throne, Imperial Cults and the Social Setting of Revelation"

I detect that the Imperial Cult is becoming increasingly prevalent in NT studies (esp. Pauline research). Richard Horsley and John Dominic Crossan have worked on studies about Paul over and against the claims of the Roman Empire. N.T. Wright and his "Fresh Perspective on Paul" has tried to emphasize the counter-imperial nature of Paul's gospel. However, I was just starting to get the impression that maybe people were pushing this thing just a little too far and finding it anywhere and every where - however, the recent JSNT volume is a pretty sober and balanced approach to the topic.

Probably the best introduction to the topic I have come across is from J.R. Harrison (an Aussie!) in his article: "Paul and the imperial gospel at Thessaloniki," 25.1 JSNT (2002): 71-96.

Jesus is, as Kasemann once said [I think], Cosmocrator!

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