Imperial Cult and Honorary Terms in the New Testament by Dominique Cuss

By Dominique Cuss

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P a u l ' s w r i t i n g t o T i t u s , t h e r e is a s h o r t reference t o t h e Christian's duty t o t h e o u t e r w o r l d , and, i n particular, t o t h o s e i n authority, w h i c h implies o b e d i e n c e t o t h e g o v e r n m e n t : «Remind t h e m that it is their duty t o b e o b e d i e n t t o t h e officials a n d repre­ 4 sentatives o f t h e g o v e r n m e n t » . A like c o m m a n d w o u l d b e necessary for t h o s e Christians w h o regarded t h e i r allegiance t o Christ as an e x e m p t i o n f r o m allegiance t o t h e e m p e r o r .

1 39 t h a t h e felt a b l e t o a d v o c a t e such a p o l i c y t o w a r d s authority, e v e n though the procurators concerned might have been worthy and c o m p e t e n t officials. S t . P a u l starts this c h a p t e r w i t h t h e a d m o n i t i o n that o n e « m u s t o b e y t h e g o v e r n i n g a u t h o r i t i e s » ; w i t h these w o r d s , h e passes t o this u r g e n t a n d c o m p l e x p r o b l e m , t h e attitude o f t h e Christian t o the secular a u t h o r i t y o v e r h i m - h e affirms t h e principle o f t h e divine o r i g i n o f all p o w e r .

Dio LVIII 1 2,7 and SUET. Tib. 65, 1. 2 As P. S P I C Q has pointed out, it would have been Sejanus who conferred the title of 'friend* on Pilate, as well as the province of Judaea, for Tiberius had already withdrawn to Capri in 27 A. D. The 'friends' of Sejanus are conspicuous at his downfall, when the majority hasten to deny that such a friendship had ever existed. M. Terentius, a Roman knight, stands alone as a former friend of the ex-favourite, who had the courage to admit it in a discourse before the Senate, acknowledging the fact that though it might be more prudent to deny any friend­ ship, he admitted that he had aspired to this position, which, once it had been attained, brought him much happiness.

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