After preparing for, leading, and reflecting on some twenty trips to Turkey and Greece that emphasize the development of the early church there, it has become more and more evident that one of the “cutting edges” of scholarship has to do with how the Early Church came into contact and conflict with the common practice of “worshiping” the Roman Emperor.
This conflict has been examined extensively in connection with the New Testament book of Revelation, but it is now more evident that Paul and others interfaced with this cult to a much greater degree than was previously emphasized.
Questions such as to whom did early Christians owe their allegiance arose?
The Roman Emperor Claudius (nude as a deity in a divine epiphany with drapery billowing above his head; A.D. 41-54) portrayed as a deity receiving homage from the earth (cornucopia on the lower left) and the sea (ship’s steering oar lower right)
Claudius is presented as a “universal saviour and divine protector”
Original from the Sebasteion (below) now in the the museum at Aphrodisias
To the Emperor? To a crucified peasant from a far eastern Roman province—namely Jesus? How could these “Jesus is the King” people be loyal subjects to the Kingdom of the Emperor while at the same time being loyal subjects to the Kingdom of God?
Readers of the Biblical Archaeology Review (November/December 2013 – Vol. 39 No 6) will be treated to articles on:
The Nea Church in Jerusalem
Kh. Qeiyafa in the Shephelah of Judean
Perga and Pisidian Antioch in Turkey
To view additional images and commentary on these sites just click on the following links:
Perga and Here
Pisidian Antioch Artifacts (including the Sergius Paulus Inscription)
Perga — Hellenistic Gate
This Gate was 300 years old when Paul, Barnabas and John Mark Visited Perga
Click on Image to Enlarge/Download