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Re: [XTalk] Re:from network to organization and organizations: part one "the need"

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Robert, ... Good point of clarification. We re dealing with polytheistic culture, of course. In the Republican era, almost all the coins show a god s face
    Message 1 of 3 , May 19, 2009
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      Hi Robert,

      On May 19, 2009, at 12:55 PM, RSBrenchley@... wrote:

      > <<3. Actium happened and life under Rome switched from being subjects
      > of a fairly loose Republic to being under the Imperial thumb that
      > claim divine authorization, a son of God, a savior.... This "good
      > news" was stamped in some way on every coin of the realm.>>
      > Does Augustus ever call himself 'Son of THE god'? He certainly
      > claims
      > the title 'Divus Filius' on some of his coins, but this surely
      > means 'Son
      > of a god', ie son of the divine Julius Caesar, his adoptive
      > father. A very
      > far cry from being the son of, say, Zeus or Jupiter!

      Good point of clarification. We're dealing with polytheistic
      culture, of course. In the Republican era, almost all the coins show
      a god's face on the obverse. This changes with Julius Caesar and
      there afterwards. The gods are relegated to the reverses and on the
      coins you find all of these statements like, "Divi Filius," and
      "Father of the Fatherland," etc. And there is the language of Caesar
      as a title and then Octavian's claim to be "the August" one. Such
      language did claim lineage from the divinized Julius Caesar. But
      then Augustus had the Senate vote him as "a divine son of... a god"
      while he was quite alive. Just checking out eBay, the inscription on
      the denarius minted between 7 and 5 B.C.E where his two young sons
      are on the reverse, the obverse description reads: Caesar Augustus,
      Divi F. Pater F. Patriae. Another denarius features the bull
      representing Jupiter and, in a butting stance, hence the claim of
      divine military power and the obverse reads Augustus Divi F
      (filius). At his death the Senate voted full deification. Later
      imperial coins, show this divinization power claim by the living
      emperors. A favorite coin is one where Gordian III is on the obverse
      and he stands "at the right hand" of Jupiter on the reverse (the
      right hand holding the thunderbolt). Leaving all thoughts of
      metaphysics aside, this was all Divine Power claiming language and

      > Soter was used as a
      > title by some Greek kings, usually by the founders of dynasties,
      > ie Ptolemy
      > Soter, who took power in Egypt following the death of Alexander.
      > The sense is
      > surely that he has 'saved' the people from the bad rule of his
      > Egyptian
      > predecessors. So Augustus could claim to be the 'saviour' who had
      > rescued the
      > Romans from the upheavals of the Imperatorial period. It's a far
      > cry from
      > the claims made for Jesus, yet I think there is a connection.

      One question is when/ where/ by whom the various claims were made. A
      second question is what was originally being affirmed by that
      language and how did that affirmation develop over time. The first
      place I want to look in the Jewish tradition is to the internal
      received traditions (the Torah, Nevi'im and Ketu'vim). The second
      place is to look at the broader religious, social and cultural world
      at the time of the writings, and then move forward from there to
      think about developments. I say this because often people claim that
      assigning certain titles to Jesus, like "Son of God" (meaning
      specifically son of the Jewish God) was a metaphysical claim from the
      beginning. I think that is simply wrong. Psalm 2, for instance,
      makes the claim about David, [God says] "You are my son: today I have
      begotten you." This is not a metaphysical claim, it is a political
      power claim." Interest in metaphysics is later in the Christian
      tradition, when the Church Fathers were up to defining and defending
      their faith in terms of the pagan philosophers. At the outset, such
      language was all about making Scriptural fulfillment claims. We see
      this clearly in the little formulas like the one we find as
      buttressing Paul's "Grace and Peace to you..." words in Romans.

      As for connection? I think the writers were quite intentionally
      pouring over the scriptures to talk about fulfillment and doing so
      with a clear eye on the current Roman theology in order to make
      distinct counter claims. "Who really rules" is far from an abstract
      question. It had to do with "to whom do you bow the knee," "to whom
      do you pay taxes," "to which temples must I go?" etc. etc.

      Thanks for your note!

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
      > Regards,
      > Robert Brenchley
      > Birmingham UK
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