1st Edition

Revelation and Material Religion in the Roman East Essays in Honor of Steven J. Friesen

Edited By Nathan Leach, Daniel Charles Smith, Tony Keddie Copyright 2024
    344 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection of essays from a diverse group of internationally recognized scholars builds on the work of Steven J. Friesen to analyze the material and ideological dimensions of John’s Apocalypse and the religious landscape of the Roman East.

    Readers will gain new perspectives on the interpretation of John’s Apocalypse, the religion of Hellenistic cities in the Roman Empire, and the political and economic forces that shaped life in the Eastern Mediterranean. The chapters in this volume examine texts and material culture through carefully localized analysis that attends to ideological and socioeconomic contexts, expanding upon aspects of Friesen’s research and methodology while also forging new directions. The book brings together a diverse and international set of experts including emerging voices in the fields of biblical studies, Roman social history, and classical archeology, and each essay presents fresh, critically informed analysis of key sites and texts from the periods of Christian origins and Roman imperial rule.

    Revelation and Material Religion in the Roman East is of interest to students and scholars working on Christian origins, ancient Judaism, Roman religion, classical archeology, and the social history of the Roman Empire, as well as material religion in the ancient Mediterranean more broadly. It is also suitable for religious practitioners within Christian contexts.

    Introduction - Daniel Charles Smith, Nathan Leach, and Tony Keddie;Selected Publications of Steven J. Friesen; Part I - Materializing Revelation; 1. Apocalypse beyond Dualism: Connectivity and Metamorphose among Modes of Existence - Paulo Augusto de Souza Nogueira; 2. Reading Enslavement in Revelation - Lynn R. Huber; 3. Disabling the Laodikean Assembly: Power of Sight as Site of Power in Revelation 3:14–22 - Daniel Charles Smith; 4. Paul and the ‘Other’ in Revelation’s Letters to the Seven Churches Revisited - Geoffrey S. Smith; 5. Subversive Consumption: Revelation’s Food Discourse within Roman Narratives of Invasive Foreignness - Nathan Leach; 6. Blood Sacrifice in Revelation and Roman Asia: Encoding and Decoding Embodied Experience - Tony Keddie; 7. (Inc)sensing Revelation: Incense, Senses, and the Agency of Incense Utensils in the Apocalypse of John - Dominika Kurek-Chomycz; Part II - Spatializing Religion and Power; 8.The Institutional Function of the Agora and Its Relevance to New Testament Studies: A New Institutional Economics Approach to the Athenian Agora and the New Testament - Alex Hon Ho Ip; 9. Disposable or Transforming Body? 1 Cor 15:35–57 in the Context of Gladiatorial Games in Ancient Corinth - Jin Young Kim; 10. The Terrace Houses at Ephesos, Domestic Religion, and Pauline Discourses of Space - Christine Thomas; 11. ‘We’re Going to Need a Bigger Altar!’ Evidence for a Massive Sacrifice of Young Sheep/Goats at Omrit in Northern Israel - Daniel N. Schowalter; 12. Untempled Altars: Ritualized Space beyond the Temenos in Ancient Priene - Adeline Harrington; Part III - Politicizing Memory; 13. Hera in the North-Eastern Peloponnese: Cult Epithets as Containers of Cultural Memory - Jorunn Økland; 14. The Lust for Recognition and Influence: Laodikeia and the Quest for Neokorate Status - Alan H. Cadwallader; 15. Vibrant Pomegranates: Urbanism and New Materialism in Ancient Side - Jaimie Gunderson; 16. Problematizing the ‘Discovery’ of Pepouza and Tymion - Caroline Crews; 17. Partaking of the Death-Proclaiming Meal for Life: Re-Reading 1 Cor 11:17–34 from the Lens of Post-Traumatic Growth - Ma. Marilou S. Ibita.


    Nathan Leach is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at Texas State University at San Marcos. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His current research analyzes the Revelation of John as part of the wider social landscape of divinatory rituals.

    Daniel Charles Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Whitman College. He earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2022. His research investigates how imperial and material processes shaped religion in the Roman Empire, including the Apocalypse of John.

    Tony Keddie is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Fellow of the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also received his Ph.D. He researches the intersections of religion and labor among Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire.

    “This volume of essays is striking in its consistent attention to material culture and the use of perspectives related to memory studies, institutional economics, ritual studies, and trauma studies. Its readers will derive both pleasure and profit from this innovative and refreshing collection.” – Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor Emerita of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

    "Steve Friesen is one of the leading contributors to scholarship on Revelation in our time. His innovative studies have reshaped the ways in which archaeology, mythology, and comparative religion are used to interpret biblical texts and their cultural contexts. The essays in this volume are a fitting tribute to his work. Varied and engaging, they pursue questions that open fresh perspectives on Revelation and the Greco-Roman world. A welcome and creative collection of studies." – Craig Koester, Asher O. & Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament Emeritus at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN USA)

    "This expansive volume is a warm and fitting tribute to the person and the career of Steve Friesen. The seventeen contributors – an international group of scholars from Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Norway, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States – interact with and extend Friesen’s work in fruitful and fascinating ways. This volume both honors Friesen and constitutes an important contribution to the study of Revelation and material culture to which he has devoted his research over many years." – Adele Reinhartz, Distinguished University Professor, University of Ottawa

    "This rich and well-nuanced volume will be of interest to scholars and graduate students in classics, religious studies, and early Christian studies. Such an impressive feat is a fitting tribute to an amazing scholar and mentor, such as Steven J. Friesen. The contributors and the editors deserve our congratulations!" – Ronald Charles, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

    "This sterling collection of essays brings into sharp focus the ways in which Steve Friesen has paved the way for our field to tackle key issues of power, financial precarity,  social stressors, and claims of revelatory experience in exciting and fruitful ways." – Melissa Harl Sellew, Professor Emerita of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota