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Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine

Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine

Hardback

By (author) J. B. Rives

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  • Publisher: Clarendon Press
  • Format: Hardback | 348 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 218mm x 31mm | 544g
  • Publication date: 1 April 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0198140835
  • ISBN 13: 9780198140832
  • Illustrations note: 4 maps

Product description

This book examines the organization of religion in the Roman empire from Augustus to Constantine. Although there have been illuminating particular studies of the relationship between religious activity and socio-political authority in the empire, there has been no large-scale attempt to assess it as a whole. Taking as his focus the situation in Carthage, the greatest city of the western provinces, J.B. Rives argues that the traditional religion, predicated on the structure of a city-state, could not serve to integrate individuals into an empire. In upholding traditional religion, the government abandoned the sort of political control of religious behaviour characteristic of the Roman Republic, and allowed poeple to determine their own religious identities. The importance of Christianity was thus suited to the needs of the increasingly homogeneous Roman empire.

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Review quote

the author has successfully placed north Aftican Christianity within the ramework of the variegated religious life of the province during the second and third centuries. he has achieved this in a scholarly and well-researched study and...has made a valuable contribution towards understanding the political and religious life of Roman north Africa. Ecclesiastical History 47:2 A very good and very important book...It retains the rigorous documentation and close argument which characterize the best dissertations in any university, but much of it also reads like the profound reflections of a mature scholar. Rives advances (and in my opinion establishes) a significant historical thesis...Rives has constructed a model religion in the cities of the Roman Empire, firmly grounded in a careful and accurate reading of the very varied evidence relating to to Carthage, which does much to explain an important historical development. Anyone who rejects this model has a duty to offer a more plausible or more convincing one. It will not be an easy task. Journal of Theological Studies detailed examination of the religious life of Roman Cartahage in the first three centuries ... Rives has produced a challenging and convincing interpretation of the intersection of religion and authority in the early empire that will lead many students and scholars or reconsider the way in which they view "official religion" in the Roman world. J.S. Hamilton, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, Journal of Church and State, Winter 1997 Well documented with literacy and archaeological evidence ... The author significantly increases our understanding of religion in the Roman empire with this monograph. Church History

Back cover copy

This book examines the organization of religion in the Roman empire from Augustus to Constantine. Although there have been illuminating particular studies of the relationship between religious activity and socio-political authority in the empire, there has been no large-scale attempt to assess it as a whole. Taking as his focus the situation in Carthage, the greatest city of the western provinces, J. B. Rives argues that traditional religion, predicated on the structure of a city-state, could not serve to integrate individuals into an empire. In upholding traditional religion, the government abandoned the sort of political control of religious behaviour characteristic of the Roman Republic, and allowed people to determine their own religious identities. The importance of Christianity was thus that it provided the model for a new type of religious control suited to the needs of the increasingly homogeneous Roman empire.