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    Rome's shadow in the New Testament

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    mikel.withers

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    Rome's shadow in the New Testament

    Post  mikel.withers on April 3rd 2017, 1:50 pm

    As I was listening to the New Testament read out loud, as a stream of narration instead of bits and pieces here and there, it struck me just how much Rome hung like a sword of Damocles over the regions of Syria, Judea, and Samaria in particular. (There might be more, but those are the regions I recall being mentioned).
    The rulers are repeatedly being stated as being afraid of the Jews or wanting to gain their favor. The Jews, for their part, seemed ready to riot at the drop of a hat. If I had to guess, I'd say that the leaders of the synagogues and the appointed rulers like Pontius Pilate (as opposed to the Herodian kings/tetrarchs) had a Realistic* view of what would happen if Rome found them to be ungovernable, both to the ungovernable people and those who were supposed to govern. Meanwhile the people, whom the narrative says were zealous seemed to think (judging from the text, Romans in particular) that they had God's favor because of their works, and that God would deliver them like in times of old...not realizing that their rejection of Jesus and failure to repent, and subsequent "grafting in" of the gentiles, meant that they were pretty much on their own.
    I'd say the religious leaders, based on the reading, were more in line with the provincial rulers than the people as a whole...and their main fervor seemed to be reserved for preserving quietude rather than the truth.

    Of course, I say this as an amateur historian and dilettante theologian, so... caveat emptor, as the Romans would have said.

    *Realistic in the mundane, philosophical sense
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    fxruizx

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    Re: Rome's shadow in the New Testament

    Post  fxruizx on April 3rd 2017, 4:11 pm

    Google, what is the "sword of Damocles"?
    ...[A]n allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power.

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    jorowi
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    Re: Rome's shadow in the New Testament

    Post  jorowi on April 3rd 2017, 6:18 pm

    Rome liked things peaceful. If the Jews or any other sect would rise up they'd quickly and violent squash it. Acts is an amazing book. When you consider what Paul had to face, not from Rome, but from Jews and Gentiles it's a miracle the Gospel was even spread more than 50 miles outside of Jerusalem.


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    Paeter
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    Re: Rome's shadow in the New Testament

    Post  Paeter on April 4th 2017, 8:57 am

    fxruizx wrote:Google, what is the "sword of Damocles"?
    ...[A]n allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power.

    Feel more edumicated now Very Happy

    Ditto! Thanks for doing that for me!


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    Paeter
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    Re: Rome's shadow in the New Testament

    Post  Paeter on April 4th 2017, 8:59 am

    mikel.withers wrote:
    I'd say the religious leaders, based on the reading, were more in line with the provincial rulers than the people as a whole...and their main fervor seemed to be reserved for preserving quietude rather than the truth.

    My memory is really poor, but this sounds familiar to something I may have read. I think you're right, and they used a mask of zeal, in part, to cover a desire to hold on to comfort and position.


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