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Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

Steven J. Friesen

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195131536
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195131533.001.0001

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Examines the relationship between imperial cults and the Book of Revelation, focusing especially on the Roman province of Asia during the early Empire. The main argument is that Revelation and imperial cult institutions were in direct contradiction regarding cosmology and eschatology. The exaggerated cosmology of imperial cult institutions resulted in an absurd eschatology – their emphasis on Roman imperial order was so strong that they could not envision an end to Roman rule. Revelation, on the other hand, denigrated all temporal authority and focused attention on the throne of God in heaven and the eschatological inauguration of the New Jerusalem. In this way, the author of Revelation produced one of humanity's great religious critiques of hegemony, a critique that attempted to establish and maintain a just community in the face of imperial oppression.

Keywords: Asia; cosmology; empire; eschatology; imperial cults; imperialism; New Jerusalem; province; Revelation; Roman

Book.  300 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Religious Criticism in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Provincial Imperial Cults of Asia Under Augustus and Tiberius in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Provincial Cults from Gaius to Domitian in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Municipal Imperial Cults in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Municipal Imperial Cults in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Groups and Individuals in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Imperial Cults as Religion in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Revelation in Space and Time in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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Centering Reality in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

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