To what extent and in what ways were the Jews integrated in the Roman world? Why was their integration initially so fraught (there were three cataclysmic revolts between 66 and 135
The church fathers were appalled in particular by the Gnostics' condemnation of creation. But the fact that much of their teaching was in many respects not so far from Christian dogma must have disturbed the advocates of the “real” Christian church. In some of these Gnostic systems, Christ was the main savior figure; in others, it was the forefathers of the Old Testament who guaranteed salvation; in Manichaeism, it was the new Messenger of Light, the apostle Mani, who, coming after Christ, would finally give the right revelation to the people and excel Christ in doing so. This article deals with religious groups such as these as they existed in Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods. Papyrology has played a decisive role in our understanding of the religious movements of the first centuries
This article examines the rise of monasticism in Late Antiquity. It reveals the close link between traditional Greek society and culture and the rise of monasticism, based on historical evidence and the literary character of the early monastic texts. While not denying the innovative character of much of early monastic life, the rich variety of forms of monasticism, and the strong anti-Hellenic polemic of monastic texts in general, the discussion situates the innovations, variations, and polemic in much closer relation to the society in which it all happened.
This chapter describes Plutarch’s role as a Middle Platonist in the Second Sophistic. In philosophy he holds a literal interpretation of the Timaeus and often opposes the Stoics and Epicureans. He stresses the importance of philosophical inquiry and a certain caution, especially when speaking of difficult questions. His popular Table Talks (or Sympotic Questions) offer a kind of training in philosophical inquiry. In religion his monotheistic, Middle Platonic God has created the world and guides it with his providence through gods and daimones. He indulges in eschatological myths and is interested in foreign religions, especially Roman religion and the Egyptian Isis cult. One of his greatest contributions is in Platonizing and humanizing ethics. Greek paideia is the foundation for a good ethical life, which is based on reason over passion. In many ways he represents the ideal of an educated pepaideumenos in the Greco-Roman world of his time.