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A Cult from Philadelphia: Oikos Religion or Cultic Association?

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Chapter Summary

The moral instructions together with the provision that the participants include men and women, slave and free are the features that have drawn so much attention and that have been seen as departures from earlier Greek religion and precursors of Christianity. The oikos consisted of the human and nonhuman property that belonged to the kurios. It was simultaneously a social group with a few similarities to the modem family and a highly organized collection of human and nonhuman property, including slaves and, often in reality, women. Standard Greek cultic rules, including for the oikos cult, treated sexual intercourse as a mild form of pollution to be purified by time and washing. Scholars of the inscription from Philadelphia have used the language of post Cartesian religion for interpreting the stele.

Keywords: Christianity; Greek religion; kurios; oikos; Philadelphia; slaves; stele



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