In this collection of essays, Australian ancient historian and biblical scholar, James R. Harrison, compares aspects of today’s cult of celebrity, fuelled by various media, to the quest for glory in Roman antiquity. This was a quest characterised by the constant self-advertisement of the Roman nobility, who were so keen not only to equal the glory of their ancestors, but to surpass it. Against the backdrop of this well-attested quest for ancestral and personal glory, Harrison examines how the “shame of the cross overturns the deeply entrenched Graeco-Roman culture of esteem and, in a surprising case of social levelling, establishes humility as its crowning virtue for the great man and his dependents” (vi). This leads to the question of how this “cultural collision, still reverberating today, affected the civic ethics of Paul’s converts, their communal ethos and paradigms of group identity, their pedagogical curriculum, and their understanding of honour and dishonour?” (vi). In addition to the introductory and concluding chapters, Harrison has added three new studies (chapters 2, 3, and 6) for this collection. Five previous studies have been updated to emphasise their contribution to an understanding of how the cross of Christ effected moral transformation in the face of the self-assertive values espoused by the luminaries of the ancient celebrity circuit (vi).
Harrison, J. R. (2019). Paul and the Ancient Celebrity Circuit, WUNT 430. Mohr Siebeck. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1628/978-3-16-157019-3
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