Religious Toleration and Persecution in Ancient Rome

Religious Toleration and Persecution in Ancient Rome

Religious Toleration and Persecution in Ancient Rome

Religious Toleration and Persecution in Ancient Rome

Excerpt

This study is an attempt to find an answer to three distinct but closely related questions. Why were foreign, pagan cults under the Roman Republic sometimes tolerated, sometimes suppressed? Why was Christianity persecuted, at first sporadically, then systematically? Finally, why was Judaism generally tolerated?

The most comprehensive response to these queries has been given by Mommsen. The pagan cults, otherwise unmolested, were occasionally repressed because they were disorderly or immoral, rather than because they were foreign. The Roman state took no notice of absence of faith on the part of the citizen; there was no religionsfrevel or religious crime under the late Republic. The votaries of foreign, pagan religions, by their acceptance of polytheism, did not incur the charge of atheism, the denial of the gods of the state.

Why were the Jews generally tolerated in the Empire? And why the periodic persecutions? According to Mommsen, only the Jewish provincials were entitled to the privileges which formed the basis of the Jewish position in the Empire, because they formed a national group, or natio . Such persecution as occurred was directed against the Jews who were . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.