ISBN : 9780198703723
The history of Roman imperial religion is of fundamental importance to the history of religion in Europe. Emerging from a decade of research, From Jupiter to Christ demonstrates that the decisive change within the Roman imperial period was not a growing number of religions or changes in their ranking and success, but a modification of the idea of 'religion' and a change in the social place of religious practices and beliefs. Religion is shown to be transformed from a medium serving the individual necessities - dealing with human contingencies like sickness, insecurity, and death - and a medium serving the public formation of political identity, into an encompassing system of ways of life, group identities, and political legitimation. Instead of offering an encyclopaedic presentation of religious beliefs, symbols, and practices throughout the period, the volume thematically presents the media that manifested and diffused religion (institutions, texts, and law), and analyses representative cases. It asks how religion changed in processes of diffusion and immigration, how fast (or how slow) practices and institutions were appropriated and modified, and reveals how these changes made Roman religion 'exportable', creating those forms of intellectualisation and enscripturation which made religion an autonomous area, different from other social fields.
1. "Globalization" as a model for individual religious creativity in the Roman Imperial Age
2. Integration and transformation of an immigrant religion: observations on the inscriptions of the Jupiter Dolichenus cult in Rome
3. A Judaeo-Christian variant of professional religion in Rome: The Shepherd of Hermas
4. Organisational patterns in respect of religious specialists in a range of Roman cults
5. The rise of provincial religion
6. Religion in the lex Ursonensis
7. The export of calendars and festivals in the Roman Empire
8. Book religions as imperial religions? The local limits of supra-regional religious communication
9. Polytheism and pluralism: Observations on religious competition in the Roman Imperial Age
10. Religious pluralism and the Roman Empire
11. Representations of Roman religion in Christian Apologetic texts
12. Religious centralization: Traditional priesthoods and the role of the pontifex maximus in the Late Imperial Age
13. Visual worlds and religious boundaries
14. How does an empire change religion, and how religion an empire? Conclusion and perspectives regarding the question of "Imperial and provincial religion"