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Title: Reconfiguring the universe : the contest for time and space in the Roman imperial cults and 1 Peter
Author: Wan, Wei Hsien
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 6013
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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Evaluations of the stance of 1 Peter toward the Roman Empire have for the most part concluded that its author adopted a submissive or conformist posture toward imperial authority and influence. Recently, however, David Horrell and Travis Williams have argued that the letter engages in a subtle, calculated (“polite”) form of resistance to Rome that has often gone undetected. Nevertheless, discussion of the matter has remained largely focused on the letter’s stance toward specific Roman institutions, such as the emperor, household structures, and the imperial cults. Taking the conversation beyond these confines, the present work examines 1 Peter’s critique of the Empire from a wider angle, looking instead to the letter’s ideology or worldview. Using James Scott’s work to think about ideological resistance against domination, I consider how the imperial cults of Anatolia and 1 Peter offered distinct constructions of time and space—that is, how they envisioned reality differently. Insofar as these differences led to divergent ways of conceiving the social order, they acquired political valences and generated potential for conflict. 1 Peter, I argue, confronted Rome on a cosmic scale with its alternative construal of time and space. For each of the axes of time and space, I first investigate how it was constructed in cultic veneration of the emperor, and then read 1 Peter comparatively in light of the findings. Although both sides employed similar strategies in conceptualizing time and space, they parted ways on fundamental points. We have evidence that the Petrine author consciously, if cautiously, interrogated the imperial imagination at its most foundational levels, and set forth in its place a theocentric, Christological understanding of the world.
Supervisor: Horrell, David ; Lawrence, Louise Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Roman Empire ; 1 Peter ; Ideology ; Ideological criticism ; Imperial cult ; Imperial cults ; Time and space ; Spatial studies