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Title: Galatians and the imperial cult? : a critical analysis of the first-century social context of Paul's letter
Author: Hardin, J. K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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This study assesses the imperial cult as a possible background for understanding the social setting of Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches. After providing a new reading of certain sections of the letter, I offer a fresh hypothesis for the situation of the Galatian churches. The thesis also aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on the importance of the imperial cult for our appreciation of the setting of the NT writings. In order to place this study within the broader context of Galatians scholarship, I first discuss some recent studies on the social and religious context of Galatians, including two hypothesis on the setting of the letter with special reference to the imperial cult. The chapter ends by setting out the aims of, and the approach taken in, this study (Chapter One). The thesis is then advanced in two parts, each consisting of two chapters. In Part One, ‘The Imperial Cult and Ideology in the Roman World and in Galatia’, I begin with a thematic sketch and assessment of emperor worship and imperial ideology during the Julio-Claudian period (Chapter Two). This chapter is followed by a more specific study on the province of Galatia; its primary aim is both to explore historically and to assess critically the presence and reception of imperial ideology and the public worship of the emperor (Chapter Three). In Part Two, ‘The Imperial Cult in the Galatian Letter’, I then turn to Paul’s letter in order to evaluate the imperial cult as a backdrop from which to understand the crisis in Galatia. I begin with a study of Gal 6.12-13, specifically Paul’s claim that the ‘agitators’ were compelling the Galatians to be circumcised only that they (the agitators) might avoid persecution for the cross of Christ. After arguing that Paul’s charge in the first instance should be taken at face value, I evaluate critically the recent hypothesis that the sources of persecution were the civic authorise, who were persecuting the members of the Galatian churches for not observing the imperial cult (Chapter Four).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available