As I indicated earlier, I am in Denmark this week giving talks. I’m staying in Copenhagen, a fabulous city, but two of my talks are in Odense, an hour and a half (very pleasant) train ride from here. I am being sponsored by the University of Southern Denmark, which invited me almost a year ago now to give a lecture to students and faculty on the relationship between the Roman Imperial cult (the worship of the Roman emperor as a divine being) and the rise of Christology (the understanding of Christ as a divine being).
The lecture was yesterday, and I thought it might be worthwhile here on the blog to explain the topic and the issues it raises. I called the talk “When Men Became Gods: Caesar and Christ.” The overarching idea that I tried to develop was that the Christian acclamation of the divinity of Jesus had a clear historical context within the broader Greco-Roman world. There were other humans in that context who were considered divine. And none more prominently than the Roman emperors.
The idea that a political leader could be seen as a divine being is alien to most of us. True, there are people who think that Ronald Reagan had a touch of the divine about him. But I don’t see too many voters lining up to bestow the title of “God” to either Donald or Hillary. Did people in the ancient world really think their political leaders were divine in some sense? Really?
Well, as it turns out…
The Rest of this Post is for MEMBERS ONLY. If you don’t belong yet, JOIN! It costs little, gives a lot, and every dime goes to charity. So GET WITH IT!!!