Temple and Empire explores the theme of temple piety in Luke-Acts and 1 Clement in historical context. Mina Monier argues that situating both works in Trajanic Rome, and reading them through the lens of Roman imperial ideology explains their peculiarly positive presentation of the Temple as a form of reverence toward ancient worship and ancestral customs that would not offend, but would appeal to traditional Roman sensibilities.
Mina Monier is postdoctoral research fellow in the New Testament and digital humanities in Lausanne, Switzerland..
In this brilliant study, Mina Monier argues that the Temple piety of Luke-Acts fits well both with 1 Clement and the cultural environment of Rome in the Trajanic period, a time in which there was a strong focus on pietas, maintaining ancestral customs and keeping peace and concord. While illuminating the cultural milieu in which Luke-Acts was forged, he provides new perspectives on the complex way the Temple is portrayed.
In this ambitious work, Mina Monier seeks to show how Luke's positive engagement, both in his Gospel and Acts, with the image of the Jewish temple consciously reflects wider concerns of the Roman world of which he was a part. According to Luke, Christians, in spite of their apparent separation from Judaism, remain a people committed to the temple and exemplars therefore of the Roman principle of Pietas. Monier's work contributes in a stimulating and original way to the image of Luke-Acts as a work of apologetic and by extension to the larger subject of the inculturation of ancient Christianity.
An important contribution to scholarship on early Christian views of the Temple, Mina Monier’s Temple and Empire illustrates how Luke’s narrative appeals to the Temple as the quintessential symbol of ancestral Judean piety served to secure social and ideological capital on behalf of an emergent “Christianity.” Monier’s careful study shows that Luke’s narrative re-tells the “Christian” story in close alignment with Trajanic-era Roman religious assumptions of ancestral customs and Temple-piety, serving to historically contextualize Luke’s literary project, illuminate the social and political worlds within which the third evangelist lived and moved, and facilitate further scholarly discussion on the role of the Temple in early Judaism and Christianity.