Goodman Lecture: Mediterrean Mixing: Pagans, Jews and Christians in Roman Antiquity

The Roman Empire encompassed a near-countless variety of ethnic groups, and accordingly, a numberless population of gods. Most of the time, everyone (gods and humans) got along. Pagans dropped into Jewish sacred spaces (both local synagogues and, before 70 CE, the temple in Jerusalem), and Jews lived within pagan sacred spaces: the diaspora city itself was a pagan religious institution. We will explore the ways that a pragmatic religious pluralism prevailed in the Empire, as well as the ways that certain conditions could disrupt this status quo. How can we account for pagan anti-Christian persecutions? And how does a lasting legacy of Christian anti-Judaism emerge and develop in this same period of time?Paula Fredriksen is an Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University and  a Distinguished Visiting Professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.The annual Goodman Lecture is an endowed lecture with a mission of strengthening Jewish-Christian understanding.