Original Research

Assessing representations of the imperial cult in New Testament studies

Pieter J J Botha
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 25, No 1 | a258 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v25i1.258 | © 2004 Pieter J J Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 October 2004 | Published: 05 October 2004

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Abstract

A distinct conceptualisation of the imperial cult is common in NT scholarship, in which worship of the emperor is portrayed as a “foreign” development which served primarily political aims, with little integrity and no serious religious significance. This depiction does  not  do  justice  to  the evidence and is basically ethnocentric. That the imperial cult provides us with a crucial window on the mentality of the Roman Period comes closer to the truth. A few aspects of early Christian literature and history which might be reinterpreted in the light of a more comprehensive understanding of the imperial cult are briefly noted. 

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