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Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society
Edited by Richard Horsley
From The Publisher:
Over the centuries, Paul has been understood as the prototypical convert from Judaism to Christianity. At the time of Paul's conversion, however, Christianity did not yet exist. Moreover, Paul says nothing to indicate that he was abandoning Judaism or Israel. He, in fact, understood his mission as the fulfillment of the promises to Israel and of Israel's own destiny. In brief, Paul's gospel and mission were set over against the Roman Empire, not Judaism.
This anthology brings together incisive and ground breaking essays on: (1) "The Gospel of Imperial Salvation," revealing how the imperial cult, by its dominance in urban public space, created a pervasive presence of imperial beneficence and salvation integrated into traditional Greek religion; (2) "Patronage and Power," disclosing the networks of patronage relations that held the empire together so as to render occupying troops and imperial bureaucracy unnecessary in urbanized areas such as Corinth and Ephesus, key centers of Paul's mission; (3) "Paul's Articulation of an Alternative Gospel," discerning how Paul borrows much of the key language of the imperial religion in preaching his own gospel of a Lord who had been crucified by imperial rulers but vindicated by God as the true universal Lord; (4) "The Assemblies of an Alternative International Society," exploring ways in which the assemblies Paul founded in Asia Minor and Greece were to embody patterns alternative to the hierarchical human relations that dominated Roman Imperial society.
"a set of informative essays (most of them previously published) that emphasize that Paul's concern was not driven simply by specific doctrinal issues such as justification nor only by relationships to Judaism or the Gentile world. Rather, Paul's ultimate concern was confrontation with Roman imperial power and all that it entailed."
The Bible Today
"Richard Horsley has collected from a variety of mainly published sources a set of fourteen essays illuminating Paul in the setting of the Roman Empire as re-established and stabilized by Augustus shortly before the apostle's lifetime.Substantial and masterly introductions to the various sections are provided by the editor. The whole work is to be highly recommended."
"Encompassing both Christian sources and general Roman socio-political issues relevant to our understanding of earliest Christianity, it will be informative for pastors and general readers with a solid background in New Testament history."
"Tired of traditional descriptions of Paul? Then spend some time with Paul and Empire. Paul, you'll find, is not just the theologian you knew, but a political and religious activist, too. Paul and Empire provides a handy introduction to the work of some of the most respected scholars in Roman and New Testament studies."
Biblical Archaeology Review
"Reading through a political lens, these authors explore the political dimension of key Pauline terms and suggest how Paul engages imperial, political rhetoric. All will profit from exploring the political aspects of Paul's context and letters."
Religious Studies Review
"...outstanding collection of essays. To understand the New Testament -- in the case of this book, Paul -- the reader is immediately drawn into a highly charged political atmosphere. The Horsley collection provides an assembly of ground breaking, almost classical articles that are in many cases not readily available."
Trinity Seminary Review, Fall/Winter, 1999
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About the Editor
Richard A. Horsley is Professor of Classics and Religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author and co-author of numerous books, including: The Message and the Kingdom (Fortress Press, 2002); Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs (1985); Jesus and the Spiral of Violence (Fortress Press, 1992); Galilee (1995); Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee (1996); 1 Corinthians (1998); and Whoever Hears You Hears Me (1999). He is also the editor of Paul and Empire (1997) and Paul and Politics (2000).
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