Cuss, Imperial Cult

Cuss, D.: Imperial Cult and Honorary Terms in the New Testament. Paradosis, 23. Fribourg: The UP, 1974.

Cuss’s 168 page book treats the topic of imperial cult and honorary terms. After two initial chapters on the sources and a survey of NT implications towards the Roman Empire and the Emperor, Cuss then analyses references to the imperial cult in Revelation, the significance of the “second beast” and its implications in Imperial Worship, Two Cult-Expressions parallelled in Imperial and Christian usage (i.e., ascension as glorification and the implications of epiphaneia and finally the questions of the relationship between persecution and the Imperial cult.

The get-up of the book includes a scriptural index, indices to Greek and Latin literary sources and to deities, a general index and an index to modern scholars and a 8 page bibliography.

This work is interesting in the light of recent reader-oriented research, but fails to argue its premises which are, unfortunately, not as sure as they were generally thought to be in the seventies.

A second problem might be that because the majority of NT material is found in Revelation, the relationship between Revelation and imperial cult is analysed on the basis of the texts from Revelation which Cuss already has decided in advance to be references to the imperial cult. If it can reasonably be argued that this premise is subject to debate, then the thesis of this work is also subject to debate.

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