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Chapter Summary

The perspective taken in this chapter is inspired by sociology of religion and research at the University of Erfurt on religious individualization. Within this large field, the chapter concentrates on the two institutions, membership in priesthoods or more general the taking over of a role as religious specialist and associations. The combination is not arbitrary. The widespread model of Roman priestly colleges resembled ordinary collegia in many respects. At the same time both enabled male and female individuals to develop a specific religious identity among their other identities, a sort of religious individuality. The conflict between continuation of local power and identity on the one hand and Roman imperialism on the other were of significance for the formation of religious groups on a wider scale. The chapter discusses whether the imperial period shows significant changes in the opportunities for individuals' religious identity offered by associations and priesthoods.

Keywords: Christian association; Imperial period; priesthood; religious individuality; religious specialist; Roman imperialism; Roman priestly college



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