Imperial Cults as Religion

Steven J. Friesen

in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195131536
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834198 | DOI:
 Imperial Cults as Religion

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The four components of Lawrence E. Sullivan's comparative model allow us to summarize the role that imperial cults played in the polytheistic religious systems of Asia. Imperial cults had some influence on cosmogony and human maturation. Their major contribution, however, was to cosmology. These cults articulated an imperialist elaboration of Greco‐Roman religious life that made Roman rule seem normal, or at least inevitable. This strong commitment to the longevity of Roman imperialism resulted in an absurd eschatology, which could not represent an end to Roman rule. This fundamental flaw in the religion of imperial cults created the matrix within which Revelation's critique of Roman rule could take root.

Keywords: cosmogony; cosmology; eschatology; human maturation; imperialism; revelation; Lawrence E. Sullivan; Roman

Chapter.  5026 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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