Your cart is empty.

Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna

Edited by Richard S. Ascough
Series Studies in Christianity and Judaism Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889204720, 376 pages, April 2005

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna edited by Richard S. Ascough
1. Interaction among Religious Groups in Sardis and Smyrna | Richard S. Ascough, Queen’s University, Kingston
Overview of Religious Groups in Sardis and Smyrna
2. Jewish Communities in Sardis and Smyrna | Lloyd Gaston, Vancouver School of Theology
3. Christian Communities in Sardis and Smyrna | Dietmar Neufeld, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
4. Greco-Roman Religions in Sardis and Smyrna | Richard S. Ascough, Queen’s University, Kingston
5. Spheres of Contention, Claims of Pre-eminence: Rivalries among Associations in Sardis and Smyrna | Philip A. Harland, Concordia University, Montréal
Indirect Contact among Jews and Christians in Sardis and Smyrna
6. Some Astrological Motifs in the Book of Revelation | Tim Hegedus, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
7. The Patriarchs and the Zodiac: Revelation 12 | John W. Marshall, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto
8. Was Roma the Scarlet Harlot? The Worship of the Goddess Roma in Sardis and Smyrna | James Knight, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
Interaction among Religious Groups in Sardis and Smyrna
9. “Caring for All the Weak”: Polytheist and Christian Charity in Sardis and Smyrna | Steven C. Muir, Concordia University College, Edmonton
10. Martyrdom: In Accordance with the Gospel | Wayne O. McCready, University of Calgary
11. Among Gentiles, Jews, and Christians: Formation of Christian Identity in Melito of Sardis | Reidar Aasgaard, University of Oslo, Norway
12. Acquaintances, Supporters, and Competitors: Evidence of Inter-Connectedness and Rivalry among the Religious Groups in Sardis | Keir E. Hammer, University of Toronto, and Michele Murray, Bishop’s University
Broadening the Context
13. Down the Road from Sardis: Adaptive Religious Structures and Religious Interaction in the Ancient City of Priene | Michele Murray, Bishop’s University
14. Urbanization in the Roman East and the Inter-Religious Struggle for Success | Jack N. Lightstone, Concordia University, Montréal
Religious Coexistence, Co-operation, Competition, and Conflict in Sardis and Smyrna | Richard S. Ascough, Queen’s University, Kingston
Works Cited
Modern Authors Index
Ancient Sources Index
Subject Index


This volume, one in a series of books examining religious rivalries, focuses in detail on the religious dimension of life in two particular Roman cities: Sardis and Smyrna. The essays explore the relationships and rivalries among Jews, Christians, and various Greco-Roman religious groups from the second century bce to the fourth century ce.
The thirteen contributors, including seasoned scholars and promising newcomers, bring fresh perspectives on religious life in antiquity. They draw upon a wide range of archaeological, epigraphic, and literary data to investigate the complex web of relationships that existed among the religious groups of these two cities—from coexistence and cooperation to competition and conflict. To the extent that the essays investigate how religious groups are shaped by their urban settings, the book also offers insights into the material urban realities of the Roman Empire.
Investigating two cities together in one volume highlights similarities and differences in the interaction of religious groups in each location. The specific focus on Sardis and Smyrna is broadened through an investigation of methodological issues involved in the study of the interaction of urban-based religious groups in antiquity. The volume will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in Biblical Studies, Classical Studies, and Archaeology.


A refreshing, informative, and provocative collection of essays addressing the complex relationships among religious groups in two of the most important urban centres of the Greco-Roman world. In contrast to many other studies, these essays take seriously the local contexts of ancient religions--including geography, economics, and politics--and thereby challenge some of the basic assumptions with which scholars often approach this topic. Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna is testimony to the groundbreaking scholarship taking place in biblical studies in Canada.

- Adele Reinhartz, Wilfrid Laurier University, author of, 2005 March