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The Eschatological Arena: Reinscribing Roman Violence In Fan Tasies Of The End Times

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores various early Jewish and Christian texts in which divine judgment is imagined in terms of Roman disciplinary power, often configured as an eschatological arena-either explicitly, as in the case of Tertullian, or implicitly, through allusion. It considers how appropriation of one of the cardinal symbols and instruments of Roman imperialism functions in different texts and contexts. Part and parcel of understanding how these revenge fantasies reconfigure the ideological effects of Roman spectacle, the chapter analyzes the role vision plays in destabilizing relations of power and honor in apocalyptic fantasy. It explores how voyeurism and surveillance operate within these narratives to replace Roman power with divine control and what the implications of that configuration are. Editors of the games used them to legitimize and establish their leadership through the demonstration of both munificence and power.

Keywords: Christian texts; eschatological arena; Jewish texts; Roman violence; voyeurism



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