Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins

By Steven J. Friesen | Go to book overview
Save to active project

7
IMPERIAL CULTS AS RELIGION

The preceding five chapters examined specific imperial cults in their historical social contexts. I organized the analysis according to the people and groups that sponsored the cults: province, cities, groups, and individuals. This typology is imperfect, for many cults cross these categories; I have carefully pointed out the limits of such an analysis. The advantage is that we are forced to look more closely at the ways in which these institutions functioned in the lives of communities. With attention to social context, cultic format, and the demographics of participation, I hope to build a more nuanced explanation of the institutions.

The result is not a homogenous abstraction, but a reconstruction of imperial cults as one aspect of an evolving polytheistic system. Imperial cults did not compose an independent, mythic worldview; they were a distinguishable part of their broader, polytheistic cultural context. As such, they did not need to shoulder the whole burden for the religious life of the communities in which they were practiced. Rather, the worship of the imperial families and institutions constituted an identifiable feature of the larger symbolic world of Greco-Roman polytheism.

Imperial cults tended to fulfill particular needs within this polytheistic society. My goal in this chapter is to illuminate the religious profile of imperial cults in that setting, drawing from materials discussed in earlier chapters. The sections of the chapter are arranged in the categories of cosmogony, cosmology, human maturation, and eschatology, and the concepts of discourse and contrapuntal interpreta

-122-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 285

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?