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Lecture

CLA 310 L11.21

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA160H1
Professor
Susan Dunning
Semester
Fall

Description
CLA 310 – Religion in the Roman World S. Dunning 11/21/12 CHRISTIANITY IN THROMAN W ORLD Key Questions: 1. How was Christianity similar to Judaism? In what ways did it differ from both Judaism and traditional polytheistic attitudes and practices? 2. Why was Christianity often perceived as a superstitio? 3. How did Christians in the Roman Empire characterize the religious practices of their polytheistic neighbours? What motivated these characterizations? R EVIEW: st - 66-71 AD ~73 AD, 1 Jewish Revolt under Nero - Vespasian, siege of Jerusalem - Nero suicide, Year of the 4 Emperors, Vespasian as emperor (general before), successor son Titus - Temple destroyed , the symbol of priestly authority thus no more sacred place – trade also occur here – sacrifice, certain rituals can only happen in the temple, now they can't anymore - Holocaust offering often performed, but still have leftover meat sometimes for the priests o Not ok to sacrifice to emperor or state or other gods – Romans not like this (don’t mind offering to other gods but not ok with ignoring the tribute on behalf of the emperor) - Actually ok in doing it in behalf of the emperor – taxed for this but not ok with sacrificing to emperor or Jupiter - Jews also excused from participating in the army - tax levied instead- situation before the revolt - After revolt, Jews seen as perverse and ungrateful to the privileges – e.g., the Sabbath an excuse to be lazy not religious demand - Silver taken from the temple in response to the 1 movement of the revolt – angered Jews more - Flavian amphitheatre  Coliseum o Site of Jewish persecution, execution - Diaspora communities emerging even after Revolt o Settled in places where they were once minorities - Jewish religious diverse o Monotheists – worship of God alone o God’s election of Israel – chosen people o Gift of land (of Israel) to the chosen people  But who’s in charge? Been under foreign rule for so long o Temple as religious, social, political and economic centre of nation - Synagogues in Jewish communities everywhere emerged as substitute to temple o Stepping stones on which Jews step on as they go about before settling (immigrants) – moving in stages - Jews in Rome, speak Greek - Respect, for no idol, images for deity - Customs weird – hygiene, dietary laws – superstitio - D IFFERING ATTITUDES TOWARJEWS OF ROMANS - Tacitus, Ethnography of Jews (Beard 2 – 11.8a) o Misinformation (e.g., statue of an ass) – why? o Confusion with other deities: Saturn, Liber o Jewish religious performances “sanctioned by their antiquity” – appealing to Romans? o Tacitus mocks genre of ethnography? o Tacitus approves of refusal to flatter Caesars with images? - Statue of an ass – reminiscent of Exodus story of the golden calf, akin to Egyptians o Jews would have been upset because Temple is God’s holy place and they’re not animal worshippers like Egyptians - Worship of Saturn projected on Sabbath – Saturnalia and resting day (= festival day?) - Worship of Liber – garlands of ivy, music - Mocking style of ethnography – writing silliness about foreign people – no qualms because Jews minority - Rites sanctioned by antiquity - 160s BC, Jews still there o Chaldeans, Jews kicked out of Rome o Chaldeans independent magicians and fortune tellers Jewish catacombs - Confusion with Christian caves - Hard to tell origin of the Jews (physically) - Language, Greek, few in Hebrew and Aramaic - Number of synagogues – most in Rome after Jerusalem - Collegia, trade guilds / associations – some closed by emperor except for funerary / burial society - Maintain sense of identity even in city - Religion and ethnicity – Jewish – reinforce each other - Religious identity that permeated life - Isolation in Rome – inward-facing groups - Same iconography on the sarcophagi – craft production within and outside their own isolated (demand demands it) o But hardly enough interaction - Latin later became dominant in the last catacombs (slow adaptation) - Epithets – assimilation and identity present - Private places for Jews – included Roman identity at some level, as well as Greek writing - Assimilated but maintained set of identity - Christian catacombs modelled after Jewish ones o Arches, tufa, detailed art Jews in Rome - Ark of Jews shown in coin within which some books of the bible is exhibited within - Menorah and other sacred objects - Proselytes – Gentiles – other heretics might not be on par with him (?) - Mission to evangelize world – conversion - Praetor, expulsion of Jews; Isis cult Tiberius included in expulsion from Rome (Eastern cult) - Josephus, superstitio – renegade Jews o Embezzle, bribe, financial empowerment from shady jobs - 2 groups of Jews in Rome – slaves and immigrants as poor, low class; elite ambassadors, noble hostages o Elite Jewish Romans expelled because they were in the lime light more than the lower class Jews o Betrayed by neighbours – people visible to the authorities at risk Rome and superstitiones - Marks of a superstitio: strict lifestyle regulations (diet, hygiene, dress, daily observances, etc.), manner of worship, association with “foreignness”, allegiance to “family” of worshippers, not state - Importance of traditional Roman religious practices among elite: unity, desire for traditional offices o Examples: worshippers of Bacchus and Isis, astrologers, Jews, Christians o Elite more in scrutiny than common people because their lead is followed, the ones state depends on to affirm unity of (state) society – religious sense - Common accusations: human sacrifice, cannibalism, sexual immorality, incest ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - Christianity, origins in Judaea st - 1 c. AD, main focus of Christianity lived in Jerusalem o Jesus – acted like a rabbi (teacher), claimed to be Son of God, one with him and called Him Father - Notion deemed similar to emperor being divus so Jewish people arrested him with Roman sanction and executed him - Disciples said he was resurrected – physically (deemed weird) o Miracle works before, after death - There grew a belief that he can offer salvation after life – saved from Original Sin, eternal damnation o Lack of proper relationship to God = Sin o New concept to Romans o Offending God not a moral problem, deemed as neglect to Romans but to Christians, with ethical code, this is bad (= damnation) o To have belief in Jesus is to be saved from death – bodily resurrection with soul  Compare to Mithras and Isis – belief of soul moving on - Greek philosophy  body = matter = burden so why keep it? o Gets old, dies, cumbersome o Physical resurrection is unnecessary then, to the Romans - All Jews, Christian community – but why keep it to ourselves? Spread to Gentiles – missionary work – Paul travels all over the Mediterranean world and Christianity caught like wildfire - Septuagint the origin of the Bible, then the New Testament comprised of the life of Jews, early history of Christians (Acts), letter to the different Christian communities (Epistles), and the Apocalyptic book (Revelations) – formed sacred text - Break from Judaism – Christians have no sacrificial ritual – Jesus’ death the ultimate sacrifice – a gift of life so no more sacrifices – radical for the Jews, Greeks, Romans - Jews end sacrifice with loss of Temple till it’s rebuild - One God, offered up with hymns and prayers with no sacrifice – Christians are atheists! o Don’t care, too miserly for sacrifices (Roman thought) - Jewish people did not like Christian teachings so Paul focused on Gentiles o Christians then had to decide if they still had to follow Jewish traditions or (adopt Gentile) stick with Christian thinking o At first, sect of Judaism – not on the Roman radar of supertitio - Christian practices centered on hymns and prayers because there is no stable Christian space for worshi
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