Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity by Luke Timothy Johnson

By Luke Timothy Johnson

The query of Christianity’s relation to the opposite religions of the area is extra pertinent and hard this present day than ever prior to. whereas Christianity’s old failure to understand or actively have interaction Judaism is infamous, Christianity’s much more shoddy list with admire to “pagan” religions is much less understood. Christians have inherited a nearly unanimous theological culture that thinks of paganism when it comes to demonic ownership, and of Christian missions as a rescue operation that saves pagans from inherently evil practices.

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Sample text

Finally, both monumental inscriptions and papyri have revealed a form of correspondence carried out between sovereigns and the delegates assigned to represent them in provinces or territories (see Dio Cassius, Roman History, 53 - 1 5 -4). Sometimes called "royal correspondence" and sometimes mandata principis (instructions of the ruler) letters,46 they contain two kinds of content that at first do not seem to fit logically together and make sense only when the function of the delegate as the ruler's personal representative is kept in mind.

Zo In the twenty-first-century Western world, patterns of addiction among individu­ als can easily be described in terms of Wach's description: the addictive sub­ stance serves as that which functionally "is perceived to be ultimate" and organizes time and space around itself with ruthless efficiency. z l Contempo­ rary group activity involving collegiate or professional sports-one thinks of the World Cup competition in soccer-lends itself to religious analysis: the patterns of a ctivity especially among certain fans can only be called religious in their "pe culiar intensity" and their perceived "ultimacy" for those involved.

28 The evidence does not suggest any sense of alien­ ation from public religion, probably because, from the start, it was so consistently in line with domestic piety and so constantly reinforced a social cohesion that transcended lines of class and wealth. This may be the place to mention that neither was there a sharp line drawn on the basis of gender. While many reli­ gious responsibilities were assigned to males, there is abundant evidence for the activity of females in cultic settings, both in Greece and Rome.

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