Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Spectacles of Empire

Expand Messages
  • jonknewton
    I have been absent from this group for about 2 years. Has anyone any comments on Frilingos Spectacles of Empire ? Jon Newton Tabor College NSW, Australia
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 12, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      I have been absent from this group for about 2 years. Has anyone any
      comments on Frilingos' "Spectacles of Empire"?

      Jon Newton
      Tabor College NSW, Australia
    • ottoerlend
      Jon Newton wrote: I have been absent from this group for about 2 years. Has anyone any comments on Frilingos Spectacles of Empire ? Jon Newton, You might
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 13, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Jon Newton wrote:

        "I have been absent from this group for about 2 years. Has anyone any
        comments on Frilingos' 'Spectacles of Empire'?"


        Jon Newton,

        You might find the following link interesting:

        http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/4418_4445.pdf


        Regards

        O. E. Nordgreen
        Oslo, Norway
      • Lyn
        Actually, Spectacles of Empire is a well written and insightful work. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is doing work on Revelation in relation to the
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 14, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Actually, Spectacles of Empire is a well written and insightful work.
          I would highly recommend it to anyone who is doing work on Revelation
          in relation to the Roman world. If you want more information on it, I
          believe there was recently a review of it on RBL.

          L. Huber
          Elon University

          --- In revelation-list@yahoogroups.com, "jonknewton" <jonknewton@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > I have been absent from this group for about 2 years. Has anyone any
          > comments on Frilingos' "Spectacles of Empire"?
          >
          > Jon Newton
          > Tabor College NSW, Australia
          >
        • David L Barr
          I want to endorse Lyn s comment about Chris book. I had a chance to review it for CBQ; I ll paste it below for those interested. David L. Barr Wright State
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 16, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            I want to endorse Lyn's comment about Chris' book. I had a chance to review
            it for CBQ; I'll paste it below for those interested.

            David L. Barr
            Wright State University

            -----Original Message-----
            From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lyn
            Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2006 3:44 PM
            To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [revelation-list] Re: Spectacles of Empire

            Actually, Spectacles of Empire is a well written and insightful work.
            I would highly recommend it to anyone who is doing work on Revelation in
            relation to the Roman world. If you want more information on it, I believe
            there was recently a review of it on RBL.

            L. Huber
            Elon University

            ---------------------Review forthcoming in Catholic Biblical
            Quarterly---------------
            Christopher A. Frilingos, Spectacles of Empire: Monsters, Martyrs, and the
            Book of Revelation (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion;
            Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Pp. viii + 184. $35.


            This is a difficult book, difficult to grasp and even more difficult to
            apprise briefly. Not only does it employ a set of methods and materials
            rarely used by New Testament scholars, but it also marshals its arguments in
            an allusive fashion designed to produce insight in the reader rather than in
            a strictly propositional form. This is a case not so much argued as shown
            (a method quite in keeping with its major concern with spectacle). Still,
            there is an argument.
            Frilingos attempts to do two things. First, he explores the role of
            spectacles in Roman culture and politics, and, second, he shows how the
            Apocalypse fits that culture. To state the case baldly (and perhaps badly):
            just as joining in the bloody spectacle of the arena produced better Romans,
            so joining in the bloody spectacle of the Apocalypse produced better
            Christians. So unlike most commentators, F. explores what John's work shares
            with its culture, indeed, sees it as "an expression of Roman culture" (p.
            12).
            Frilingos wants to know what ancient Christians found appealing about the
            book of Revelation (p. 1). Why was this spectacle of "monsters and martyrs"
            so compelling? This leads him to ask further questions: What did it mean to
            view a spectacle? How did John's world understand sight? How were seeing
            and being seen related to concepts of virtue (and especially to
            masculinity)? How do characters in the Apocalypse function as spectators
            (the first act of the martyr is to view something).
            Armed now with a new set of questions, the reader is asked to enter the
            arena. In fact, we are led to consider the many spectacles of death: animal
            hunts, public executions, and gladiatorial contests, even popular romances
            (especially Apuleius' The Golden Ass and Longus' Daphnis and Chloe). And we
            are asked to view this "vast spectacle" with new eyes, following the
            Aristotelian model of the hierarchy of the senses wherein sight is both the
            most important and the most masculine (p. 39). Vision, you see, was not a
            passive experience but an active gaze, indeed a tactile and material
            experience (p. 73). Whether explained in the Platonic fashion (where a fire
            within the eyes reached out and touched objects) or the Epicurean (where
            images flow off objects and strike the eyes), seeing places the seer in
            intimate contact with the seen. Thus a spectacle is never just something
            that happens to someone else; the viewer is always involved.
            Whereas we may consider the arena as a stage for sheer brutality, to the
            Roman this suffering was "integral to the development of manliness" (p. 79).
            It inspired bravery and the pursuit of victory-the domination of one's foes.
            Seeing the victory was to act the man. This connection between seeing and
            manliness extends also to the romances, where the seer is the male gaze; the
            seen the female body. Further connections of the female with blood and
            penetration only reinforce the manliness of conquest (pp. 67-70).
            Two dense chapters on the role of the Lamb form the heart of the book. The
            Lamb is both the one penetrated ("as if slain," p. 69) and the one who
            penetrates (by his gaze, pp. 80-83), both feminized (pp. 75-78) and
            masculinized (pp. 78-87). Yet this masculinization is "arrested," for the
            Lamb does not appear at the final battle and it is the heavenly warrior who
            penetrates all by the sword of his mouth. The Lamb is both the spectator
            and the spectacle thus rendering "the concept of the 'masculine gaze'
            problematic" (p. 114). The Apocalypse, it turns out, is at once a thoroughly
            subversive work and one that fully employs the spectacle of empire.
            There is much more, and much more subtle, argument than I have been able to
            review here. F. presents an original thesis, well argued, supported with
            material from contemporary sources. And if it is over-drawn, as I think it
            is, it is nonetheless a provocative and healthy correction to the present
            consensus that emphasizes only John's rejection of Rome. The book should be
            widely read and discussed. The book's value is extended by excellent and
            extensive notes and a good bibliography. It has an adequate index-good on
            names but weak on topics (there is no index for "Jesus" or "witness," for
            example, but "Lamb" and "martyr" can be found). And in addition, the book is
            a pleasure to read.

            David L. Barr, Wright State University, Dayton OH 45435
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.