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By Leif E. Vaage

Non secular Rivalries within the Early Roman Empire And the increase Of Christianity is a special research of the diverging destinies of Christianity, Judaism, and different historic non secular teams as a topic of social competition. Divided into 3 major sections, spiritual Rivalries scrutinizes no matter if "rivalry" is an sufficient class to comprise, examine, and distinction quite a few concerns about the social "success" of alternative spiritual teams; an in-depth dialogue of even if the trendy class of "mission" sufficiently captures the method during which faiths unfold and hold their id; and the so-called "rise of Christianity", quite in direct reaction to a booklet of an analogous identify through Rodney Stark. Did any of those teams envision their very own luck at once on the price and removal of different faiths? What behavior or practices of Christianity made it well-disposed towards good fortune within the Roman Empire? New testomony literature instructor Leif E. Vaage explores those and different questions at size, during this interesting scholarly text.

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Extra info for Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity (Studies in Christianity and Judaism)

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The Declining Polis? 33 Second, theories regarding widespread social-religious decline share the problems of the parallel notion of the decline of the polis (which is assumed rather than substantiated), including, for example, the tendency to neglect the possibility that innovations are not always negative, nor signs of degeneration, but simply changes (North 1976, 10–12). Third, it seems that some scholars impose on the ancient evidence concepts and models of historical development (cultural and intellectual) borrowed from the modern era, which are not appropriate for the study of the Greco-Roman world.

Take, for example, the imposition of many such details on the ancient world in the article about “Individualism” by Lawrence Hazelrigg in the Encyclopedia of Sociology (1992), and compare this description with what scholars such as Festugière like to find in the GrecoRoman world. Hazelrigg rightly emphasizes the contrast between pre-modern societies, in which social relations are largely organic, corporate, and groupbased, and the individualism of the modern era. Furthermore, as Peter Brown observes: “many modern accounts of religious evolution of the Roman world place great emphasis on the malaise of life in great cities in Hellenistic and Roman times.

Civic religion by categorizing it as a sign not of continued vitality but of an historical interest from a romantic and sentimental background characteristic of an age “weary of its culture” (1964, 295). S. Ferguson 1928, 4; cf. Nilsson 1964, 282–83, 287; Farnell 1912, 137, 140–41, 147–50, who speaks of the rise of a spirit of individualism and a corresponding waning in the old religion; Guthrie 1950, 256, 334). Tarn and Griffith state: “Man as a political animal, a fraction of the polis or self-governing city state, had ended with Aristotle; with Alexander begins man as an individual” (1952, 79).

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