Tag Archives: Greco-Roman Period

Worship in Early Judaism and Christianity

As I try to finish up my review of James Dunn’s book Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, I’ve decided to start cataloging instances of worship in early Judaism and Christianity that is not directed at God. By “worship” I mean prostration before someone; sacrifice, hymns, prayers, or other kinds of liturgical praise offered to someone; sympathetic magic directed at someone; etc. A few examples pop into my head:

– 4Q246 1ii:7: All the nations will bow down before the people of God
– Rev  3:9: The “Synagogue of Satan” will come and worship before the feet of the Philadelphians
–  Hecataeus states (according to Diodorus’ Bibliotheca Historica 40.3.6) that the Jews “fall to the ground and worship” before the high priest (obviously this source is probably not reporting things accurately)
– A number of incantation bowls from late antiquity call upon angels by name to help ward off evil and protect people

Obviously this research is still in very early stages, but it should prove interesting!


Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity

I’m finishing up a great collection of essays in a 1999 OUP book called Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity. You should check it out if you’re interested in early Jewish, Christian, or Greco-Roman monotheism. Here’s the table of contents:

Introduction, Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede
Towards Monotheism, M. L. West
Monotheism and Pagan Philosophy in Later Antiquity, Michael Frede
Monotheism in the Gnostic Tradition, John Dillon
The Cult of Theos Hypsistos between Pagans, Jews, and Christians, Stephen Mitchell
The Chaldaean Oracles: Theology and Theurgy, Polymnia Athanassiadi
The Significance of the Speech of Praetextatus, Wolf Liebeschuetz