At the Temple Gates: The Religion of Freelance Experts in by Heidi Wendt

By Heidi Wendt

In his 6th satire, Juvenal speculates approximately how Roman better halves busy themselves whereas their husbands are away, particularly, by way of wonderful a revolving door of unique viewers who comprise a eunuch of the jap goddess Bellona, an impersonator of Egyptian Anubis, a Judean priestess, and Chaldean astrologers. From those self-proclaimed spiritual experts girls solicit prone starting from dream interpretation to the coercion of fanatics. Juvenal's catalogue indicates the recognition of such "freelance" specialists on the flip of the second one century and their familiarity to his viewers, whom he may possibly anticipate to get the joke.

Heidi Wendt investigates the backdrop of this enthusiasm for the faith of freelance specialists by means of analyzing their upward push in the course of the first centuries of the Roman Empire. not like civic monks and temple team of workers, freelance specialists needed to generate their very own authority and legitimacy, frequently via demonstrations of ability and studying within the streets, in marketplaces, and on the temple gates, between different destinations within the Roman global. Wendt argues that those execs participated in a hugely aggressive kind of non secular task that intersected with a number of parts of area of expertise, fairly philosophy and drugs. Over the process the imperial interval freelance specialists grew more and more influential, extra different with appreciate to their talents and strategies, and extra various within the ethnic coding in their practices. Wendt argues that this context engendered a number of the leading edge types of faith that flourished within the moment and 3rd centuries, together with phenomena associated with Persian Mithras, the Egyptian gods, and the Judean Christ.

The facts for freelance specialists in faith is ample, yet students of historic Mediterranean faith have just recently began to understand their effect at the empire's altering non secular panorama. on the Temple Gates integrates stories of Judaism, Christianity, secret cults, astrology, magic, and philosophy to color a colourful portrait of non secular services in early Rome.

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