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Colonization and religious dynamics in antiquity: contact, continuity and change

27-328 | Thursday, 3:30 p.m. | 135
Panel Chair: Marion Bolder-Boos

In the context of colonization people migrated across the ancient Mediterranean, bringing the cults of their hometowns to foreign regions, where they encountered people with different sets of beliefs. Cultural contacts certainly took different shapes and courses depending on whether the colonial encounters were friendly or hostile, but while in the past it has often been assumed that supposedly “superior” cultures would imprint their cults on their “barbarian” neighbours, it is now widely accepted that the religious dynamics in colonial situations were much more complex. Indigenous populations reacted in different ways to the cults of the newcomers. In return, colonists could be affected by the religious traditions of the local inhabitants. Even a religious ‘Middle Ground’ could develop where cultural contact and intercultural exchange resulted in the emergence of new forms of religious practices.

Marion Bolder-Boos

Tutelary deities and Roman colonization

In the course of their territorial expansion, the Romans founded colonies in numerous indigenous settlements, which caused serious changes not only in the political but also in the social and religious makeup of those communities. Especially the cults of the tutelary deities were affected. On the one hand, one must ask whether – and, if yes, in what form – the old protective divinities of the pre-Roman population were able to continue in existence, how they were transformed and what role they assumed within the colonial pantheon. On the other, it is important to look at the cults the Romans brought with them into the newly founded settlements. In the light of recent discussions about the validity of the concept of ‘religious Romanization’ a re-evaluation of the role of Jupiter and the Capitoline Triad is of particular significance.

Frank Daubner

Macedonian Colonization and the Gods

From its very beginnings, the kingdom of the Argeads was an expansionist and colonizing power. The Macedonians occupied districts formerly settled and ruled by Paeonians, Thracians and Chalcidians before they occurred in history caused by the deeds of their kings Philip II and Alexander III. The better-known colonizing movements under those rulers brought Macedonians to Asia and to the East. This movement went on under their successors. The religious dynamic of Macedonian colonization in Classical and Hellenistic times has never been sufficiently stressed, so I try to trace the hints for „Macedonian religion“ in the areas of Northern Greece, Asia Minor and the Near East which were affected by Macedonian settlers and settlements in order to come closer to a comprehensive understanding of the role the Gods played in the nearly 500 years of Macedonian colonization.

Christopher Cornthwaite

The Letter of James and Egyptian Patronage

The publication of Paul Veyne’s book, LE PAIN ET LE CIRQUE, brought the study of Greek benefaction (euergetism) and Roman patronage into the discourse of antiquities scholars and, especially in the last decade, into Christian origins. Unfortunately, these categories of benefaction and patronage have also become somewhat ossified as the two possible options for understanding patron/benefactor relations in the Graeco-Roman world. This has led to the neglect of a third option, the Ptolemaic and Egyptian system of skepē patronage, on which the only thorough study is Marta Piatkowska’s LA SKEPE DANS L'ÉGYPTE PTOLÉMAÏQUE. This paper examines how skepē patronage can elucidate elements in early Christian literature, using the following issues in the Epistle of James as a case study: proedria, the faith and works discussion, and the prohibition of oaths.

Michael Affleck

The Identity of the Founding Author of Christianity

The history of the dynamics of the rise of Christianity has been written and understood without ever knowing who the author was of the most widely read book in Western Civilization, the Gospel according to Mark. Authorship is everything yet the search for Mark has been all but abandoned. Modern analysis has created new approaches to finding the revolutionary author who wrote some good news in response to the destruction of Jerusalem. Knowing the author reveals the purpose for which he wrote his gospel that was empowering in form and substance. This paper will establish the historical criteria for identifying the person who used the pen name, Mark. Socio-economic, political, religious, linguistic and motivational criteria will be examined.These criteria will be applied. The author who hid in history, a founder of the Christian movement, the author upon whom the other three canonical gospels rely, will be identified by name.