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.