romans glossary

Concepts

Honor/Shame

A cultural dynamic prominent in the world at the time of the New Testament and in many eastern cultures today. An honor/shame perspective is emphasized by tradition, relationship and hierarchy. A person’s honor is one’s perceived worth according to a particular society. Honor can be ascribed, or given because of one’s social status, family name, gender or ethnicity, or achieved: earned through performance and success. While western cultures generally emphasize achieved honor, eastern cultures will heavily emphasize ascribed honor. Social status cannot exist without ascribed honor, and conformity to social norms is virtuous, not mindless or weak as western culture would judge. Tradition, social norms and relationships are the source of one's value, worth and dignity, and maintaining social order is of the highest value. 

Collective Identity

A cultural dynamic prominent in the world at the time of the New Testament and in many eastern cultures today. A collectivist identity means that one’s honor, identity and value is defined by one’s relationships, social status and cultural norms. People are socially shamed if they do not conform to group norms, and people are willing to suffer injustice rather than lose honor by exposing problems  or neglecting group responsibilities.  In contrast to the western ideal of individualism, which is when the individual is autonomous and one’s honor, identity and value comes from the achievements and performance of the individual. Nonconformity is celebrated in individualism, while conformity is celebrated in collectivism. One’s social status is the result of personal relationships. Loyalty to the group is more important than individual actualization. People are never truly autonomous beings. 

Caesar

Title of the Roman emperor as the supreme authority over the Roman Empire - King of the known world. Received his power from the gods and was worshiped as a god himself. Personification of the superiority of Roman rule over the known world

Pax Romana

Latin for “Roman Peace,” this phrase refers to a time period of relative tranquility in the Roman Empire from the reign of Augustus to Marcus Arelius. The empire offered protection and regional rule if the people accepted Roman taxation and military occupation and control. Romans regarded peace as not merely an absence of war but only possible when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist. The Peace of Rome was brought about at the point of the Roman sword.