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RE: [revelation-list] Re: Nero

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  • Kevin P. Edgecomb
    Relatedly, I think it was Robert Grant who brought up that the Trajan/Pliny correspondence demonstrates a new approach to the problem of accusations,
    Message 1 of 47 , Dec 6, 2007
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      Relatedly, I think it was Robert Grant who brought up that the Trajan/Pliny correspondence demonstrates a new approach to the problem of accusations, implicitly different from Domitian's in the instruction not to rely upon the testimony of delatores, reliance upon which had been common under Domitian. This was tied to Trajan's perception of his reign as an enlightened one, particularly in comparison to his predecessor's.

      Regards,
      Kevin P. Edgecomb
      Berkeley, California


      ---- <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      >
      > Thanks, George, this is helpful.
      >
      > The caution I want to raise is that while Domitian might not have levied a "sudden reign of terror" (and in that sense was in general continuity with emperors before and after), this does not mean that Christians within the empire who refused to reverence the emperor and Roman deities, or to deny their religious allegiances, were treated with genteel kindness by the local Roman authorities. Pliny seems to have felt he was following established policies in his trial and execution of the Christian women, which probably did not start with the reign of Trajan. All it takes is a real example or two of harassment or punishment (let alone capital punishment) for an individual or group to feel singled out and oppressed. That seems to be the more plausible realism underlying Revelation, albeit mixed with some Roman graciousness and patronage.
      >
      > Paul
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George F Somsel
      > Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:13 PM
      > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Nero
      >
      > On Titus' sudden death Domitian became emperor. Unlike his father and brother, he was either unable or unwilling to disguise his autocracy: in particular, he could not maintain a good relationship with the senate, and as most historians were senators, this has done little to enhance his reputation. For a time, though, he made the effort and even awarded consulships to potential opponents-Helvidius Priscus (whose father was executed by Vespasian), Arulenus Rusticus (long recognized as a member of the "philosophic opposition"), and Salvidienus Orfitus (whose father was executed by Nero). Possibly he hoped to compromise them in the eyes of their senatorial supporters, but whatever his motives, the attempt was a failure and all three were executed (Dio Cass. 67.13.3; Suet Dom. 10.2-4). Other senators shared their fate, including two imperial cousins, T. Flavius Sabinus and T. Flavius Clemens. But the ancient evidence does not fully support modern
      > claims that he instituted a reign of terror. Fewer than twenty victims are named in our sources, and the timing of the beginning of the "terror" varies-for Suetonius (Dom. 10.5), Domitian became more cruel after Saturninus' revolt (89), but for Tacitus (Ag. 44) the worst came four years later, after the death of Agricola. On the other hand, his was an overt autocracy: he styled himself "perpetual censor" and even "Lord and God," though the latter title has not been found on any coin, inscription, or manuscript. Far more significant in the long term was the increased role in government assigned to the equestrian order at the expense, inevitably, of the senate: this did violence to tradition and harm to his reputation. In 87/88, for instance, he executed the (senatorial) proconsul of Asia and replaced him with the equestrian C. Minicius Italus, an event particularly offensive to senators since the Asian post was the most highly regarded
      > external appointment open to them. Equally unprecedented was the appointment of the equestrian Cornelius Fuscus to the command of the Dacian war, a traditional senatorial post. It is not surprising that Domitian's relationship with the senate deteriorated.
      >
      > Freedman, D. N. (1996, c1992). The Anchor Bible Dictionary (2:221). New York: Doubleday.
      >
      > george
      > gfsomsel
      >
      > Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
      > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      > defend the truth till death.
      >
      > - Jan Hus
      > _________
      >
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: Paul Anderson <panderso@...>
      > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2007 5:47:00 PM
      > Subject: RE: [revelation-list] Re: Nero
      >
      > Nope, I don't buy it. The angelification of Domitian goes against all Roman histories as well as Christian ones--it is wistfully revisionistic from a historical-critical standpoint. The reason senators and others had it in for him is that he had killed so many of them and their associates that they came to resist his
      >
      > As for Trajan, he advises Pliny not to pay attention to anonymous lists, and counsels not to seek out Christians, but this is by no means a "dictum of Christian innocence." In fact, he emphasizes directly following his more gracious-seeming counsel, that if the governor should happen to bring Christians up for trial, and if they refused to worship Caesar or to deny the Christian name, they should be punished (Killed?). He clearly states that Trajan has followed "the correct course" in putting the two otherwise innocent young women to death; for those who did not renounce bearing "the name" or worship Roman gods there was to be absolutely no mercy. Roman hegemony need not have been "widespread persecution of Christians" for it to be an experienced hardship for those who refused to bow the knee publically to the Empire.
      >
      > Here's Hanson's translation:
      >
      > "You have followed the correct course, my favored one, in your investigation of the cases of persons charged with being "Christ-niks" ; for it is impossible to construct a universal principle applied as a fixed standard. These people should not be hunted down; if they are brought before you and the charge against them is proven, they must be punished. But in the case of anyone who denies that he is a "Christ-niks, " and makes it clear that he is not by offering supplications to our gods, he shall be acquitted as a result of his recanting, however suspect his former conduct may be."
      >
      > So, for "recanting" Christians (and other members of the Empire), Rome might have been friendly. For others, as in "the faithful," the picture is not so pretty. This letter to Pliny (an even more temperate Caesar than Domitian) states clearly that all who defy Rome (by not worshipping the Emperor or Roman gods, and, of course, by not denying their loyalties to Christ and his followers--see Pliny's description of those who had--these could not have been Christinas) should be punished. So, Ignatius was not a lone exception; he was a public target of Roman imperial policy, which if not "widespread" was by no means "isolated".
      >
      > I see the domestication of Domitian as revisionistic and naïve.
      >
      > Paul Anderson
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of George F Somsel
      > Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 2:09 PM
      > To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
      > Subject: Re: [revelation- list] Re: Nero
      >
      > Domitian's culpability in persecuting Christians (and in some cases others as well) has been called into question in recent scholarship. It seems that his detractors largely include those who opposed him for other reasons (Senatorial prerogative) . There seems to have been no empire-wide persecution of Christians at any time either under Nero (local persecution) or Domitian. We have evidence that some, such as Ignatius had been put to death including the letters between Pliny and Trajan, but no persecution in which Christians were specifically singled out. In fact, Trajan specifically forbids that Pliny act simply upon unsubstantiated rumors. I have serious doubts that the author of the Apocalypse had in view
      >
      > george
      > gfsomsel
      >
      > Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
      > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      > defend the truth till death.
      >
      > - Jan Hus
      > _________
      >
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox. edu>
      > To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2007 4:32:16 PM
      > Subject: RE: [revelation- list] Re: Nero
      >
      > With Hebrew gematria, the letter "nun" is worth 50 points, so "Nero Kaisar" = 616. As the second beast rising up out of the sea, however, the pressing affliction at the time of Revelation's finalization is likely Domitian, who is just as bad (if not worse) as Nero.
      >
      > Eugene Boring in his Interpretation commentary on Revelation has an excellent treatment of gematria, as do several others.
      >
      > Paul Anderson
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:revelation- list@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of George F Somsel
      > Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 1:03 PM
      > To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
      > Subject: Re: [revelation- list] Re: Nero
      >
      > In order for 666 to be construed as referring to Nero it must be transliterated into Hebrew and read as "Neròn Kaisar." This is likely the reason that the reading 616 arose since it does not require such change. This apparently arose at an early date as is evidenced by P.Oxy. 4499.
      >
      > http://www.papyrolo gy.ox.ac. uk/POxy/beast/ beast616. html
      >
      > george
      > gfsomsel
      >
      > Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
      > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      > defend the truth till death.
      >
      > - Jan Hus
      > _________
      >
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: "fjust2000@yahoo. com" <fjust2000@yahoo. com>
      > To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2007 3:19:27 PM
      > Subject: Re: [revelation- list] Re: Nero
      >
      > I haven't had a chance to read Bauckham yet on this, but does he also deal with the variant reading 616 ? Could someone summarize his position?
      >
      > And is there any consensus these days, at least among members of this group, about whether the text of Rev 13:18 originally read 616 or 666 ?
      >
      > I'm rather surprised that all of the recent postings on this forum have mentioned only 666, and no one (that I can recall) has discussed the implicatins for the question of dating if the original was actually 616.
      >
      > And could a change from 616 to 666 also be an indication that there may have been multiple editions of Rev, one of which might be earlier (ca. Nero), and one (or more) editions later?
      >
      > Felix
      >
      > Ian Paul <editor@grovebooks. co.uk> wrote:
      > Yes, Bauckham does discuss the idea of Nero as beast quite
      > extensively. But he relates it in particular to the myth of Nero
      > redivivus as an eschatological rival to the return of Christ.
      >
      > The chapter on this is so substantial that I think I would counsel
      > against anyone saying anything about 666 or Nero without having read
      > this very carefully, and being able to offer some very thorough
      > replies to the position Bauckham sets out!
      >
      > On 6 Dec 2007, at 05:24, neroad70 wrote:
      >
      > > Thanks Rob; I have just ordered the book! Does he discuss early
      > > Christian belief that Nero was the beast? I guess what I am trying to
      > > nail down, is whether the early Christians did indeed believe this.
      > > Kistemaker in his commentary suggests that the idea that Nero was the
      > > beast was a very recent notion.
      > >
      > > So in short, either there is documentation proving that the early
      > > church or at least some in the church believed Nero to be the beast or
      > > Kistemaker is right. Thats what I want to nail down.
      >
      > Ian
      > ____________ _____
      > Revd Dr Ian Paul
      > Dean of Studies, St John's College, Bramcote, Nottm NG9 3DS
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      > http://www.stjohns- nottm.ac. uk
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      > http://www.groveboo ks.co.uk. .
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      >
      >
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    • Laszlo Hubbes
      Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown, I would full-heartedly suggest among many others Christopher Rowland s and Judith Kovacs s volume on Revelation in the Blackwell Bible
      Message 47 of 47 , Dec 10, 2007
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        Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown,

        I would full-heartedly suggest among many others

        Christopher Rowland's and Judith Kovacs's volume on Revelation in the
        Blackwell Bible Commentaries series. (Blackwell Publishing, 2004) - A
        brilliant multi-aspect and multi-level commentary on the Apocalypse, with an
        added emphasis on its reception history.

        Best regards,

        Hubbes Laszlo

        >


        --
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        www.apokaliptikum.lap.hu

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