Under Augustus’ imperial rule, the view widened beyond the city of Rome to include the empire, peace within the empire,

Caesarea Maritima, water pipeline
Caesarea Maritima, water pipeline

and the participation of all inhabitants, even including slaves, in the political and religious life of the city of Rome and the empire.

After achieving prosperity, the cities of Asia Minor in Hellenistic and Roman times looked for myths that linked their own past with Greece’s great past.

The pattern was the same everywhere: prosperity created the search for each city’s own significance; its own greatness was explained and idealised through a mythical past and the link to an even older culture.

In her doctoral thesis Mythische Vorväter, published in revised form as a book in 1993, Tanja Susanne Scheer describes many interesting examples of cities outside the Greek mother country.


III  2  The models

Rome provided two models for the search for an identity:

Iraq, Aqar Quf, palm tree
Iraq, Aqar Quf, palm tree

(1) Augustus’ imperial rule and (2) the formal restoration of the Roman republic.

The Roman republic emphasised the national role of the city of Rome and the rule of the Roman senate, that was formally restored and that set down the privileges of the Roman aristocracy and citizens.


In pre-Roman times, Judaism was shaped

Hatra, arched gateway
Hatra, arched gateway

by Eastern cultures; it was the encounter and exchange with the superior cultural power of Rome that gave it the cultural and religious dimensions we know today.

The Romans are presented in the Old Testament in various ways. Genesis 32f, the account of how Jacob reconciled with Esau, is a literary treatment of Herod’s subjection to Augustus. Herod had supported Mark Antony in the civil war with Augustus. After Augustus’ victory in the sea battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC, Herod was forced to offer himself to Augustus as a reliable partner (Ant. 15, 6, 6f).

In the narrative of Samuel’s hunt for a king for Israel in 1 Sam. 8ff, Samuel appoints kings and deposes them. In the political reality, this role was taken by the Romans Pompey and Augustus. In this way, 1 Sam. 8ff shows that the Jews accepted Roman power as being installed by God.


I  3    The “natural world” explanation:
 to Christianity in eight steps

Natural worldly causes: My theses offer a natural explanation of the origins of the Bible and the Jewish and Christian religions.

Karnak, Great Hypostyle Hall
Karnak, Great Hypostyle Hall

Modern science is characterised by practical atheism; in other words, historical phenomena, including religion, are attributed to exclusively natural worldly causes.

Suddenly emperor: everywhere in the world, new religions, new religious ideas and new moral rules arise following on social and political upheaval. The large-scale political change taking place as Christianity emerged was the reorganisation of the Roman empire from the Roman city republic that was swallowed up in the civil war to a flourishing Roman empire under its long-term ruler Augustus.