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Gaming Greekness


Cultural Agonism among Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire


How the Jewish and Christian communities that emerged in the early Roman Empire navigated a “Hellenistic” world is a longstanding and unsettled question. Recent scholarship on the intellectual cultures that developed among Greek subjects of Rome in the so-called Second Sophistic as well as models for culture and competition informed by mathematical and economic game theories have provided new ideas to address this question. This study offers a model for a kind of culture-making that accounts for how the cultural ecosystems of the Roman Empire enabled these religious communities could win legitimacy and build discourses of self-expression by competing on the same cultural fields as other Roman subjects. By considering a range of texts and figures -- including Justin Martyr, Tatian, the “second” Paul of the Acts and Pastoral Epistles, Lucian of Samosata, the author of 4 Maccabees, and Favorinus of Arelate -- this study contends that this competition for legitimacy served as a mechanism out of which those fledgling religious communities could develop cultural identities and secure social credibility within the complex milieu of Roman Imperial society.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: 9999 in stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4123-0
  • *
Publication Status: Forthcoming

Publication Date: May 20,2020
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 350
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4123-0
$158.00
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How the Jewish and Christian communities that emerged in the early Roman Empire navigated a “Hellenistic” world is a longstanding and unsettled question. Recent scholarship on the intellectual cultures that developed among Greek subjects of Rome in the so-called Second Sophistic as well as models for culture and competition informed by mathematical and economic game theories have provided new ideas to address this question. This study offers a model for a kind of culture-making that accounts for how the cultural ecosystems of the Roman Empire enabled these religious communities could win legitimacy and build discourses of self-expression by competing on the same cultural fields as other Roman subjects. By considering a range of texts and figures -- including Justin Martyr, Tatian, the “second” Paul of the Acts and Pastoral Epistles, Lucian of Samosata, the author of 4 Maccabees, and Favorinus of Arelate -- this study contends that this competition for legitimacy served as a mechanism out of which those fledgling religious communities could develop cultural identities and secure social credibility within the complex milieu of Roman Imperial society.

How the Jewish and Christian communities that emerged in the early Roman Empire navigated a “Hellenistic” world is a longstanding and unsettled question. Recent scholarship on the intellectual cultures that developed among Greek subjects of Rome in the so-called Second Sophistic as well as models for culture and competition informed by mathematical and economic game theories have provided new ideas to address this question. This study offers a model for a kind of culture-making that accounts for how the cultural ecosystems of the Roman Empire enabled these religious communities could win legitimacy and build discourses of self-expression by competing on the same cultural fields as other Roman subjects. By considering a range of texts and figures -- including Justin Martyr, Tatian, the “second” Paul of the Acts and Pastoral Epistles, Lucian of Samosata, the author of 4 Maccabees, and Favorinus of Arelate -- this study contends that this competition for legitimacy served as a mechanism out of which those fledgling religious communities could develop cultural identities and secure social credibility within the complex milieu of Roman Imperial society.

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Contributor Biography

Allan Georgia

Allan T. Georgia (PhD, Fordham University) has taught at Fordham University, the Methodist Theological School of Ohio, Ohio Wesleyan University, John Carroll University, and Case Western Reserve University. He is also the director of religious education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland, Ohio. His essays have appeared in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament and the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

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