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04.06.09.Jews.Christians.Romans

04.06.09.Jews.Christians.Romans - GREEK AND ROMAN RELIGIONS...

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GREEK AND ROMAN RELIGIONS 04.06.09 – J ews, Christians, and Romans – The Problem of Tolerance
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Romans and foreign sacra Could be integrated into their own religious framework (i.e. the Mater Magna) Posed a problem if they involved sacra that were not under the control of the Senate (cf. S .C. de Bacchanalibus , repression of the cult of Isis) Greek cities could and did have similar reactions – both cultures also tended to map other cultures’ divinities onto their own Romans generally respected the sacra of places they conquered
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Monotheism in a Polytheistic World J udaism and Christianity both made claims to a monotheistic theological perspective This made their integration into the Greco- Roman world frequently difficult – couldn’t just label the J ewish or Christian God as one variation of Zeus, for example Even more contentious: a divine ruler, with the strong connection between state and religious actions The history of the two religions, particularly in relation to the Romans, is thoroughly linked
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J ews, Greeks, and Romans
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J ewish “Theogony” Genesis account, two versions, both probably recorded in the 6th century BCE, give or take One account, most academics place earlier, is the “Elohist” account (as it refers to God using the term Elohim ) Second account, probably from a later priestly source, is usually called the “Yahwist” because it uses the term Yahweh for God. A single creator God is responsible for the entire world.
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J udaism in Cliff Notes Expiatory blood sacrifice for sins Circumcision (i.e. a marker that they are God’s chosen people) Belief in a Messiah figure, growing out of their experience of being conquered by successive outside forces (Assyria, Babylon / Persia, Alexander and his successors) Torah (First few books of the Hebrew bible) part of the Tanakh (the canonical scriptures of J udaism) Talmud (rabbinic law)
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So, our story begins After Alexander’s death in 323 BCE, his domains split with different generals seizing different areas. The Seleucid dynasty took control of Palestine
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Kingdoms of Alexander’s Successors (From Shepherd’s Historical Atlas, 1911, p. 18 – link to Google Books
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Seleucid Policy Generally quite tolerant of J ewish religious practice (J osephus, J ewish historian of the 1st century CE records a Seleucid “charter” granting the J ewish population of Palestine a right to practice their religion) Changed under Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168- 167 BCE – practice of the Torah prohibited and Second Temple re-dedicated to Zeus Olympios- Baal Shamim; Also emphasized the cult of his own divinity Recorded in 1st and 2nd Maccabees (books of “secondary”canonical status in J udaism)
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Enter Rome As part of the J ewish revolt against the Seleucids, 1 Maccabees 8:
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