janetthomas

Traditional Roman religious practice we are told by Cassius Dio did not tolerate atheists, which the Jews and the Christians were seen to be. Also, the Romans did not like new divinities to be introduced which might cause ‘conspiracies’ and ‘factions’. These were Roman fears and the determination by various emperors to assert the priority of Roman religion brought them into conflict with both religions.

It was said by Philo the Alexandrian that it was the emperor Gaius’s demand to be worshipped as a divine figure that brought him to persecute the Jews. Philo, who represented the Jews in an embassy to Gaius, states that Gaius thought that the Jews wished to counter his desires. When Gaius ordered a statue to be placed in the Temple at Jerusalem, a decision later rescinded, the Jews felt that their whole nation was under threat. This setting for conflict was exacerbated by the…

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