Signs of Ossified Religion

Roman religion had long since ossified, since it provided no oral principles, no way of salvation, no possibility for a personal relationship with the divinity, and no emotional home in a faith community. It functioned, at best, as the personified ideal of civic life and the state. At worst, it deteriorated into a cult of the ruler, the idolization of a living person, which began with Emperor Nero and under Domitian was required of all citizens. In 85 CE Domitian began presumptuously signing documents as ‘Lord and God.’

Since no god, except for the Jewish, made a claim of absoluteness, the gods became interchangeable. ‘The various cults were regarded by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the authorities as equally useful.’

Baumer, The Church of the East, p. 11

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

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