By Luke Timothy Johnson

Luke Timothy Johnson does it back. This such a lot artistic and discovered interpreter of recent testomony and early church historical past demanding situations his readers to exploit 4 new interpretive different types to discover Jewish, Christian, and Gentile faith. Scales fall from readers' eyes as they see typical texts in fascinating and magnificent new methods. for instance, why may still it's magnificent that new converts in Galatia desired to upload circumcision to baptism? finally, the non secular practices with which they have been conventional invited deeper degrees of initiation.

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55 Other literature is read with new interest in light of archaeology. 56 Similarly, Pliny the El­ der's Historia Naturalis, Strabo's Geography, and especially Pausanius' Descrip­ tion of Greece find new pertinence for the study of Greco-Roman religion to the extent that they can be correlated with (or corrected by) new knowledge derived from archaeology. 60 If religion is the organization of life around the percep­ tion of ultimate power, then Ael ius Aristides is an invaluable witness to Greco-Roman religion.

Sometimes called "royal correspondence" and sometimes mandata principis (instructions of the ruler) letters,46 they contain two kinds of content that at first do not seem to fit logically together and make sense only when the function of the delegate as the ruler's personal representative is kept in mind. On one side, the letters provide specific instructions (mandates) concerning what the sovereign wishes would be accomplished. When these were posted or inscribed or read aloud, they authorized the activity of the delegate.

The inscrip­ tional evidence pertinent to religious associations makes clear how socially en­ meshed and interconnected were priestly and political officesY Second, one could assume that the public and political character of religion made it an "official" rather than a popular religion, an activity reserved for the elite rather than the masses. 28 The evidence does not suggest any sense of alien­ ation from public religion, probably because, from the start, it was so consistently in line with domestic piety and so constantly reinforced a social cohesion that transcended lines of class and wealth.

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