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Article
Ea Superstitione: Christian Martyrdom and the Religion of Freelance Experts
Journal of Roman Studies
  • Heidi Wendt, Wright State University - Main Campus
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
11-1-2015
Disciplines
Abstract
This paper situates Roman actions undertaken against Christians amidst an unofficial pattern of measures employed throughout the imperial period to manage the expanding influence of freelance religious experts. Questions about the historical circumstances of martyrdom or persecution tend to proceed from the assumption that Christians were perceived and dealt with as a distinct religious community. However, the penalties alleged by writers such as Paul and Justin were more commonly issued against self-authorized individuals (magi, astrologers, prophets, diviners, philosophers, and so forth) than against undifferentiated religious groups. Thus, I propose that Roman motivations for investigating and punishing Christians, at least in the first and second centuries, are best understood in relation to the wider phenomenon of freelance expertise and the range of concerns that it engendered.
DOI
10.1017/S007543581500091X
Citation Information
Heidi Wendt. "Ea Superstitione: Christian Martyrdom and the Religion of Freelance Experts" Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 105 (2015) p. 183 - 202 ISSN: 00754358
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/heidi_wendt/5/