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By Luke Timothy Johnson

Luke Timothy Johnson does it back. This such a lot artistic and discovered interpreter of latest testomony and early church heritage demanding situations his readers to take advantage of 4 new interpretive different types to discover Jewish, Christian, and Gentile faith. Scales fall from readers' eyes as they see commonplace texts in interesting and very good new methods. for instance, why may still it's striking that new converts in Galatia desired to upload circumcision to baptism? in the end, the spiritual practices with which they have been generic invited deeper degrees of initiation.

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Like social scientific approaches to religion, but to a still greater degree, they privilege the etic (the perspective and catego­ ries of the observer) over the emic (the perspective and language of the partici­ pant). Although such approaches have undoubtedly opened up new perspectives and generated new knowledge, S it is difficult to think that religious language and practice has adequately been understood as a human phenomenon simply because it has been revealed as politically interested. Nevertheless, the university context has for the most part been good for the study of religion, and the distinctive ways in which religious studies has been able to approach the subject holds the promise of a more fruitful way of think­ ing about paganism and Christianity than did the old context of a divided church and the perspectives of theology.

Archaeology, in short, has provided a fresh set of facts on the ground that both enables and requires the reexamination of ancient literary evidence. In the case of the discoveries at Qumran, the extensive writings of this sectarian group stimulated a renewed reading of all ancient Jewish literature and led to new theories about diversity in first-century Judaism. In the case of the discov­ eries at Nag-Hammadi, the collection of Coptic compositions called the "Gnos­ tic Library" similarly led to a fresh reading of both canonical and apocryphal Christian literature and led to the development of new positions concerning the historical Jesus and diversity in the early Christian movement.

43 Polytheism's intrinsic permeability and expansiveness made the emperor cult not only intelligible but logical. 44 Rome itself was relatively slow to accede to the worship of living rulers, but under the influence of the Greek provinces, where obeisance to rulers had begun already in the time of Alexander,45 the Principate gradually overcame its republican scruples-the Consul was elected by the Senate, but the Princeps exercised rule dynastically­ and adopted the practice, which in Asian provinces eventually included the entire imperial family.

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