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History General

Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Caesarea Maritima

edited by Terence L. Donaldson

Wilfrid Laurier University Press, CCSR
Initial publish date
May 2000
General, Ancient, Comparative Religion
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    Publish Date
    May 2000
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    Publish Date
    May 2000
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We know how the story of the Roman Empire ended with the "triumph" of Christianity and the eventual Christianization of the Roman Mediterranean. But how would religious life have appeared to an observer at a time when the conversion of the emperor was only a Christian pipe dream? And how would it have appeared in one particular city, rather than in the Roman Empire as a whole?

This volume takes a detailed look at the religious dimension of life in one particular Roman city Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast of Judea. Caesarea was marked by a complex religious identity from the outset. Over time, other religious groups, including Christianity, Mithraism and Samaritanism, found a home in the city, where they jostled with each other, and with those already present, for position, influence and the means of survival.

Written by a team of seasoned scholars and promising newcomers, this book brings a new perspective to the study of religion in antiquity. Along with the deliberate goal to understand religion as an urban phenomenon, Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Caesarea Maritima studies religious groups as part of the dynamic process of social interaction, spanning a spectrum from coexistence, through competition and rivalry, to open conflict. The cumulative result is a fresh and fascinating look at one of antiquity’s most interesting cities.

About the author

Terence L. Donaldson is the Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies at Wycliffe College (University of Toronto). He is author of two other books — Jesus on the Mountain and Paul and the Gentiles — and is one of the co-chairpersons of the "Religious Rivalries" Seminar.

Terence L. Donaldson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

''Each of the articles is remarkable and interesting in its own way, and all represent a wealth of detailed, important and genuinely fascinating research on Caesarea, and on the religion, politics, architecture and social tensions thereof....The volume should become a benchmark in subsequent studies of this city and the surrounding region....[T]he volume effectively problematizes and raises new questions about the issue of locality in ancient religion [and] will be indispensable not only to everyone interested in antique Caesarea, but to students of early Christianity, and of religion, in general.''

William Arnal

''The individual studies are of a high standard, and they have been ably edited by Terence Donaldson, who furnishes a succinct introduction and 'Concluding Reflections.' It is greatly to Donaldson's credit that the volume has a unity and coherence rarely attained in similar multi-authored studies.''

Roger Beck

''...this book tells a fascinating and powerful story....Professor Donaldson and his collaborators have crafted a wide-ranging but coherent study that merits careful attention from a broad readership interested in biblical studies, the history of religions, ancient urbanism, and processes of identity formation.''

Kenneth G. Holum