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Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna

Richard S. Ascough, editor

Studies in Christianity and Judaism Series

Paper 376 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-472-0

Release Date: April 2005

Online discount: 25%

$42.99  $32.24


eBook availability

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.

Richard S. Ascough is Associate Professor of New Testament at Queen’s Theological College in Kingston, Ontario.


“It is a pleasure to report not only that the articles in this volume are of high quality throughout but also that the volume as a whole is more than the sum of its parts—alwasy the acid test of multi-authored works.”

— Roger Beck, University of Toronto Quarterly, Letters in Canada 2005

“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 Befriending the Beloved: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John and Jesus of Hollywood