Son of God in Roman Imperial Titles and Matthew

Robert L. Mowery

In two articles published in this journal, Tae Hun Kim and Earl S. Johnson, Jr., have debated the legitimacy of interpreting the anarthrous formula ui(o_j qeou= in Mark 15,39 in light of the Roman imperial formula qeou= ui(o/j 1. Moving beyond this debate, we will argue (1) that this Roman imperial formula exactly parallels the distinctive christological formula in three Matthean passages (14,33; 27,43.54), (2) that this Roman formula occurred much more widely in first century imperial titulature than Kim and Johnson have indicated, (3) that various three-word Roman son of god formulas also deserve notice, and (4) that the Matthean formula qeou= ui(o/j would have evoked Roman imperial usage for at least some members of Matthew"s community.

This article contains four sections. The first section demonstrates the uniqueness of the Matthean formula qeou= ui(o/j within the NT, while the second section surveys the son of god formulas in first century Roman imperial titulature, especially the titulature in Greek inscriptions and other sources from the eastern portion of the empire. The third section asks how members of Matthew"s community could have encountered these Roman son of god formulas, while the final section argues that the Matthean qeou= ui(o/j would have evoked this Roman imperial usage for at least some members of Matthew"s community.

1. Son of God Formulas in the NT

The NT contains five Son of God formulas which have only the governing noun ui(o/j, the genitive noun qeou=, and perhaps one or two definite articles. These five formulas are (1) o( ui(o_j tou= qeou=, (2) ui(o_j tou= qeou=, (3) o( tou= qeou= ui(o/j, (4) ui(o_j qeou=, and (5) qeou= ui(o/j. The first formula is the most common, for it appears in all four of the canonical gospels plus Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews, 1 John, and Revelation 2. Note that definite articles precede both of the nouns in this formula. The second formula consists of an anarthrous ui(o/j followed by the articular genitive tou= qeou=. In each NT occurrence of this formula, the anarthrous ui(o/j is either in the nominative case in the predicate3 or in the vocative case4. The third formula, which appears only in 2 Cor 1,19, has the genitive tou= qeou=

embedded in the words o( ... ui(o/j. Paul may have pulled the genitive forward in this (ad hoc?) construction because he had used the noun qeo/j in the preceding verse, 2 Cor 1,185.

The fourth and the fifth formulas have only anarthrous nouns. While the fourth formula (ui(o_j qeou=) occurs relatively infrequently in the NT, it occurs in a series of widely-scattered passages, including the centurion"s "confession" in Mark 15,39, the angel"s proclamation in Luke 1,35, the words of Jesus" accusers in John 19,7, the traditional material in Rom 1,4, and the textually uncertain words in Mark 1,1. Despite the absence of definite articles, this formula agrees with most other NT references to the Son of God in placing the noun ui(o/j before the genitive qeou= 6.

The fifth formula (qeou= ui(o/j), which has a prepositive genitive qeou=, occurs in the NT in only three passages, all of them in Matthew (14,33; 27,43.54). Before arguing that this formula would have evoked Roman imperial usage for some members of Matthew"s community, we must examine the use of this formula in Roman imperial titulature.

2. Son of God in Roman Imperial Titulature

When surveying the son of god formulas in Roman imperial titulature, we will focus on Greek inscriptions and other Greek sources from the eastern part of the empire, since the First Gospel was presumably composed in Greek in this part of the empire7. We will survey the son of god formulas in the titulature of first century emperors from Augustus to Domitian; however, we will delay the consideration of the imperial cult until Section 3.

Julius Caesar"s will named Octavian as his adopted son and heir. After the deceased Julius was consecrated a divus 8, Octavian began to call himself divi filius ("son of a divinized man"). Note that he chose divi filius rather than dei filius; however, since both phrases were usually translated into Greek as qeou= ui(o/j, the Latin distinction was lost in translation 9. Many provincials who read inscriptions containing this Greek phrase must have assumed that Octavian, who received the title Augustus in 27 BCE, was being honored as "son of (a) god". Indeed, various eastern sources hail his adoptive father Julius as qeo/j10.

Although the phrase qeou= 'Iouli/ou ui(o/j appears in a few sources which refer to Augustus, especially sources from the early years of his reign11, the two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j became much more common. This two-word formula appears in various longer formulas, including the five-word formula au)tokra/twr Kai=sar qeou= ui(o_j Sebasto/j which became common after Octavian received the title Augustus (translated as Sebasto/j)12 and various longer formulas which became common during the final years of his rule 13.

Augustus was honored as a god in the East during his reign, and some Greek texts hail him as both qeo/j and qeou= ui(o/j 14. He was formally designated a divus in Rome after his death. His successor and adopted son Tiberius could therefore call himself "son of god Sebastos".

Tiberius, who reigned during 14-37 CE, was the emperor during the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus (Luke 3,1). He is identified as qeou= Sebastou= ui(o/j by various inscriptions and coins15, and he is called qeou= ui(o/j by inscriptions located in such widely-scattered regions as Egypt, Achaia, Asia, Cilicia, and even the northern shore of the Black Sea16. Tiberius is called a god by various Greek inscriptions and coins17, and he is hailed as both "god" and "son of god Sebastos" by a few Greek sources18. Early Christians who heard about these imperial honors may not have known that Tiberius was never officially declared a divus by the Roman Senate.

Gaius Caligula"s principate (37-41 CE) was brief and tumultuous. He was Tiberius" adopted grandson and heir19, and a letter from the first year of his reign identifies him as "grandson of Tiberius Caesar" and "descendant of god Sebastos" (qeou= Sebastou= e!ggonoj)20. Note that this letter recognizes Sebastos (Augustus) as a god but withholds this honor from Tiberius. While Gaius apparently never used the formula qeou= ui(o/j, he demanded divine honors in the East and perhaps even in Rome21. But he was assassinated, and no successor claimed to be a son of the god Gaius.

Claudius, who reigned during 41-54 CE, did not claim to be the son of a god. He was the son of Drusus, and various inscriptions call him simply Drou/sou ui(o/j22. But he was acclaimed a god in the East during his lifetime23, and he was declared a divus in Rome after his death24. His adopted son Nero could therefore call himself "son of god Claudius".

An emphasis on the divine sonship of the emperor reappeared during the reign of Nero (54-68 CE). Several inscriptions have both the formula qeou= Klaudi/ou ui(o/j which calls Nero the son of the god Claudius and the formula qeou= Sebastou= a)po/gonoj/e!ggonoj which traces his lineage back to the god Augustus25. The two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j occurs in three Athenian inscriptions, including one which was prominently displayed on the east architrave of the Parthenon26. This formula also apparently appears on two issues of tetradrachmas struck in Antioch27. While Nero was hailed as a god by various Greek sources28, he was compelled to commit suicide. His death marked the end of the Julio-Claudian line, and no emperor claimed to be a son of the god Nero.

Vespasian, who ruled during 69-79 CE, was the first of the Flavians. He was neither the biological son nor the adopted son of any divinized predecessor, and his documents do not assert such a claim. But an Egyptian papyrus hailed him as a god at the beginning of his reign29, and the same papyrus may have called him Ammwnoj ui(o/j30. Other Greek sources also honor him as a divinity31, and he was designated a divus in Rome after his death. His sons Titus and Domitian could therefore each claim to be "son of god Vespasian".

Despite the brevity of Titus" reign (79-81 CE), he is identified as qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j by several sources32. His titulature also revived the two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j. This formula occurs in an Asian inscription33 and may have stood in a Lycian inscription34, and the two words in this formula stand in this order in a longer title in a Laodicean inscription 35. Various Greek sources call Titus a god36, and he was consecrated a divus after his death. He could be simultaneously hailed as both "god" and "son of god Vespasian"37.

Domitian, who reigned during 81-96 CE, was the second son of the deified Vespasian. Though the three-word formula qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j occurs in many references to Domitian38, the two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j appears on nearly eighty coins minted in Tarsus, Anazarbus, Alexandria, and several Egyptian nomes39. Note that all of these locations are in the East. While Domitian was hailed as a god by various Greek sources40, he was assassinated. His death ended the Flavian line, and no successor claimed to be a son of the god Domitian.

In summary, the two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j and the three-word formula qeou=-father"s name-ui(o/j appear in references to the following five first- century emperors:

Emperor  Lineage  Son of god formulas
Augustus  Julius Caesar"s adopted son  qeou= ui(o/j and qeou= 'Iouli/ou ui(o/j
Tiberius  Augustus" adopted son  qeou= ui(o/j and qeou= Sebastou= ui(o/j
Nero  Claudius" adopted son  qeou= ui(o/j and qeou= Klaudi/ou ui(o/j
Titus  Vespasian"s biological son  qeou= ui(o/jand qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j
Domitian  Vespasian"s biological son  qeou= ui(o/j and qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j

Note that Augustus, Tiberius, and Nero were adopted sons. Not until Titus became emperor in 79 CE did a biological son succeed his father.

The two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j appears not only in references to Augustus but also in references to Tiberius, Nero, Titus, and Domitian. Kim therefore erred when he claimed that this formula was "unique to Augustus, a title with which no other emperor, with the possible exception of Tiberius, could be associated"41. Besides occurring in a host of references to Augustus, this formula appears in a series of epigraphical references to Tiberius, occasional epigraphical and numismatic references to Nero, a few epigraphical references to Titus, and nearly eighty coins whose legends refer to Domitian. This formula even appears in an Athenian dedication to Drusus Caesar, a member of the imperial family who never became emperor 42.

While this formula occurs much more frequently in epigraphical references to Augustus than in epigraphical references to any other first century emperor, it occurs much more frequently in provincial coins whose legends refer to Domitian than in provincial coins which name any other first century emperor, including Augustus.

Three-word son of god formulas based on the model qeou=-father"s name-ui(o/j also appear in references to Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Titus, and Domitian. These three-word formulas explicitly identify the specific god (among the many Greco-Roman gods) whose paternity was being claimed. Matthew did not face such a problem, for he used the noun qeo/j only when referring to the one God proclaimed by his community 43. Nevertheless, there are parallels between the two-word Matthean formula qeou= ui(o/j and the three-word imperial formula qeou=-father"s name-ui(o/j, for both have a prepositive genitive qeou=, both have the governing noun ui(o/j, and both are anarthrous.

The Roman inscriptions and other sources containing these son of god formulas proclaimed the "good news" that imperial power was being transferred in an orderly manner from deified fathers to their sons. The titles of the other first century emperors, however, do not proclaim this message. Although Gaius Caligula called himself "descendant of god Sebastos" early in his reign, he eventually demanded divine honors. Claudius eschewed claims of divine sonship, and various inscriptions identify him as simply "son of Drusus". Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian, the emperors who ruled during the chaotic year of the four emperors (68-69 CE), were the sons of fathers who were never deified, and none of these emperors seems to have claimed that his father was a god, though Vespasian may have been called "son of Ammon" in Alexandria. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the five emperors whose titulature contains the formulas qeou= ui(o/j and qeou=-father"s name-ui(o/j did not rule for an insignificant amount of time, for they reigned for a combined total of nearly one hundred years.

3. Matthean Contact with these Imperial Formulas

The first section of this paper has shown that the christological formula qeou= ui(o/j occurs in the NT only in three passages in the Gospel of Matthew (14,33; 27,43.54), while the second section has shown that a prepositive genitive qeou= occurs in two types of Roman imperial son of god phrases: the two-word formula qeou= ui(o/j and three-word formulas like qeou= Sebastou= ui(o/j and qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j. This section will explore ways in which members of Matthew"s community could have learned about these imperial formulas.

The imperial cult celebrated and promulgated the claims of Rome and her emperors. As early as 29 BCE, Octavian permitted Pergamum to erect a provincial temple dedicated to the goddess Roma and himself44. He eventually became the recipient of cults in many other cities. Price claims that his cult was found in thirty-four cities in Asia Minor45, and Hnlein-Schfer studies sixty-six cult locations scattered throughout the empire46.

Although the First Gospel does not announce where it was composed, scholars tend to locate the Matthean community in one of two eastern regions: Palestine, where various sites have been proposed, or Syria, where the most common choice is Antioch47. Christians who lived in either region could have known about the imperial cult. Josephus reports that Herod erected temples for Augustus at Caesarea Maritima, Sebaste (Samaria), and Paneion (Caesarea Philippi)48, and excavations have identified the probable locations of all three49. Since the formula qeou= ui(o/j appears in many references to Augustus, Yarbro Collins makes the reasonable assumption that this formula would have been celebrated at all three of these temples50.

This formula must have also been well-known in Syria. In 27 BCE Augustus received Syria (along with Spain and Gaul, in addition to Egypt) as his province, and this special relationship continued throughout his reign. Antioch was the center of Roman power and authority in the province. Besides being the third largest city in the empire, Antioch was the seat of the governor of Syria, the center of the Roman administration of the province, the home of three or four legions, and the site of numerous temples, administrative buildings, statues, and other evidences of Roman power and authority51. Coins struck in Antioch during the first decade BCE may testify to the presence of the imperial cult in this city52.

Although Augustus was consecrated a divus after his death, various inscriptions created years after his death honor him as both qeo/j and qeou= ui(o/j. One such inscription, for example, was created at Miletus about 50 CE53. These inscriptions and the many earlier inscriptions which honor Augustus as qeou= ui(o/j served as mute witnesses to this imperial son of god formula long after they had been created. The continuing prominence of Augustus is demonstrated by coins issued in his honor by Tiberius, Gaius, and other emperors54.

Augustus was not the only emperor who received a cult. The cult of Tiberius, Livia, and the Senate was established at Smyrna during Tiberius" lifetime55, and priests of Tiberius were eventually found in at least eleven cities in Asia Minor alone56. Gaius ordered the province of Asia to establish a temple for him at Miletus57, and he even decreed that his statue be placed in the temple in Jerusalem, though this decree was never carried out. But two factors suggest that the Flavians and their cult should receive our special attention. Given the probability that the Gospel of Matthew was composed sometime after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, it is likely that this gospel was composed during the reign of one of the Flavians58. And since the cults of the Julio-Claudian emperors (with the notable exception of Augustus) may not have survived long after the deaths of these emperors59, it is questionable whether some of these earlier cults would have still been vital at the time when the First Gospel was being composed.

The power and authority of the Flavians would have been well-known in both Palestine and Syria. After being appointed governor of Judea during the Jewish war of independence, Vespasian subjugated Galilee and most of Judea before being acclaimed emperor in 69 CE. His son Titus captured Jerusalem in 70 CE and visited Antioch in triumph during the following year. Christians in Antioch would have walked by Vespasian"s statue, and they would have seen the bronze figures that had been conspicuously located on two city gates by Titus to commemorate his triumph over Jerusalem and to celebrate Roman sovereignty60.

We have seen that various Greek sources not only hail the Flavians as divinities but also bestow the titles qeou= ui(o/j and qeou= Ou)espasianou= ui(o/j on Titus and Domitian. The Flavian cult, which would have celebrated these claims, has left its mark on various sites throughout the empire, including several sites in Asia Minor. A cult for Vespasian was established at Pisidian Antioch61, and dedications to Vespasian were erected in Pamphylia, Bithynia, and Cilicia62. A colossal statue of one of the Flavians, probably Titus or Domitian, stood in an imperial temple at Ephesus; in addition, this temple had thirteen dedications to Domitian that had been erected by thirteen different cities63. Temples to Domitian were also established at Laodicea and Anazarbus64. While we lack comparable evidence for the Flavian cult in Syria and Palestine, a Syrian inscription preserves a letter in which Domitian refers to his father as "the god father Vespasian"65 and two inscriptions at Gerasa call Domitian "son of god Vespasian"66.

Although it is difficult to believe that members of Matthew"s community would have been unaware of the Roman imperial cult, it is impossible to document the extent of their knowledge. But disciples could have learned about the imperial son of god claims in other ways. Many of the inscriptions which touted these claims stood in highly-visible public locations like statue bases, dedications, honorary steles, public baths, theatres, archs, bridges, boundary stones, and even milestones. These inscriptions functioned like first century "billboards" to advertise the power of Rome and her emperors, and many of these inscriptions remained visible long after they had been created. Even illiterate members of Matthew"s community who trudged past these inscriptions could have learned about their imperial claims from literate members of the community. These claims must have also been proclaimed orally.

Coins provided Coins provided another "public" proclamation of these imperial claims. Coins struck in Syria honor Augustus and Claudius as qeo/j, Tiberius as qeou= Sebastou= ui(o/j, and Augustus and Nero as qeou= ui(o/j67. While coins minted in Judea during the reigns of Augustus and many of his successors lack such titles, coins struck in Judea during Domitian"s reign bear Latin legends which honor Vespasian as divos [sic] Vespasianus, Titus as divos [sic] T, and Domitian as divi f 68. Domitian is even honored as divi Vesp f on coins issued by the last Herodian ruler, Agrippa II69. Since these Judean and Syrian coins must have remained in circulation for many years, they must have continued to have advertised these imperial claims long after they had been struck.

4. qeou= ui(o/j in Roman Imperial Titles and Matthew

The christological formula qeou= ui(o/j occurs only three times in the NT, and all three are in Matthew. While all three are in Markan contexts, all three appear to be redactional. The first occurrence is in the distinctive Matthean conclusion to the story of Jesus walking on the sea. After seeing Jesus, the disciples in the boat worshiped him saying, "Truly you are God"s Son (qeou= ui(o/j)" (14,33). These words have no synoptic parallels; though the final six words of 14,32 repeat words found in the Markan parallel (6,51), the twelve words in Matt 14,33, including this christological formula, occur only in the First Gospel. The second occurrence of this formula is in the crucifixion narrative in the religious leaders" assertion that Jesus had said, "I am God"s Son (qeou= ei)mi ui(o/j)" (27,43). This statement occurs only in Matthew; it is absent from the parallel synoptic accounts70. The third occurrence of qeou= ui(o/j is in the words "Truly this man was God"s Son (qeou= ui(o/j)" spoken by the centurion and those who were with him (27,54). Matthew produced the wording of this christological formula by inverting the word order of the phrase ui(o_j qeou= found in Mark 15,39.

While all three of the Matthean occurrences of qeou= ui(o/j appear to be redactional, this formula does not possess typical Matthean linguistic features. The three occurrences of this formula represent (1) three of the four Matthean phrases which have only a prepositive anarthrous genitive noun and an anarthrous governing noun71, (2) three of the four Matthean phrases which place a dependent genitive noun ahead of the governing noun ui(o/j72, and (3) all three of the Matthean phrases which have a prepositive dependent genitive qeou=73. How can it be explained that this presumably redactional formula possesses such atypical linguistic features? Matthew must have been mimicking an existing formula, either a formula like the imperial son of god formula or a christological formula that was already in use within his community74.

Scholars who have examined the relationship between early Christian Son of God formulas and Roman imperial usage have often focused on the Markan phrase ui(o_j qeou=, especially its use in the centurion"s "confession" in Mark 15,3975. Yarbro Collins, for example, has argued that this Markan phrase would have evoked the imperial cult for at least some members of Mark"s audience76. One objection to her conclusion, though not a fatal objection, is that first century imperial son of god formulas normally had the word order qeou= ui(o/j rather than the inverted word order found in Mark 15,3977. Unlike this Markan formula, the Matthean qeou= ui(o/j exactly parallels the two-word son of god formulas found in the Greek titulature of Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Titus, and Domitian. In addition, this Matthean formula has the same opening word (qeou=) and the same closing word (ui(o/j) as the anarthrous three-word son of god formulas found in the Greek titulature of these five emperors.

Whether Matthew created the formula qeou= ui(o/j or was repeating a christological formula already in use within his community, it is likely that this formula would have evoked Roman imperial usage for at least some members of his community78. Whether or not these disciples had learned of the Roman formula qeou= ui(o/j through the imperial cult, some (most?) of them would have known about this imperial formula through inscriptions located in highly-visible locations and through legends on their coins, including coins struck in their own province. For these disciples, the Matthean formula qeou= ui(o/j would have evoked not only an awareness that Jesus had been given the same title as the emperor but also the recognition that the qeou= ui(o//j whose Father is "Lord of heaven and earth" (Matt 11,25) is not the emperor but Jesus.



The christological formula qeou= ui(o/j, which appears in the NT only in three Matthean passages (14,33; 27,43.54), exactly parallels the two-word Roman imperial son of god formula found in the titulature of Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Titus, and Domitian. This formula occurred more widely in first century imperial titulature than has previously been reported; in addition, various three-word imperial son of god formulas also deserve notice. The Matthean formula qeou= ui(o/j would have evoked Roman imperial usage for at least some members of Matthew"s community.


1 T.H. KIM, "The Anarthrous ui(o_j qeou= in Mark 15,39 and the Roman Imperial Cult", Bib 79 (1998) 221-241; E.S. JOHNSON, Jr., "Mark 15,39 and the So-Called Confession of the Roman Centurion", Bib 81 (2000) 406-413. For recent attempts to interpret aspects of the canonical gospels in light of the Roman imperial background, see JOHNSON, "Mark 15,39", 406, n. 2.
2 Matt 26,63; Mark 3,11; Luke 4,41; 22,70; John 1,34.49; 5,25; 11,4.27; 20,31; Acts 9,20; Gal 2,20; Eph 4,13; Heb 4,14; 6,6; 7,3; 10,29; 1 John 3,8; 4,15; 5,; Rev 2,18. Cf. also Matt 16,16; John 3,18.
3 Matt 4,3.6; 27,40; Luke 4,3.9; John 10,36.
4 Matt 8,29. Cf. Mark 5,7; Luke 8,28.
5 Commentators are curiously silent concerning the uniqueness of this formula within the NT.
6 This wording also occurs in Wis 2,18, and the same word order occurs in 4Q246, the "son of God" text from Qumran.
7 For an overview regarding these issues, see W.D. DAVIES D.C. ALLISON, Jr., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew (ICC; Edinburgh 1988-1997) I, 7-9, 72-85, 138-147.
8 S. WEINSTOCK, Divus Julius (Oxford 1971) 364-410.
9 For reflections on this problem, see S.R.F. PRICE, "Gods and Emperors: The Greek Language of the Roman Imperial Cult", JHS 104 (1984) 79-95.
10 IGRR IV 7, 1718; SEG XXXVII 1007.
11 SIG III 768; SEG XXXII 833, 1128.
12 IGRR I 1109; IV 310; SEG XXXV 1256; R.K. SHERK, Roman Documents from the Greek East (Baltimore 1969) no. 61.
13 IGRR I 853; III 137; SEG XXXIX 1210; W.H. BUCKLER, "Auguste, Zeus Patroos", RPh 9 (1935) 177-188; V. EHRENBERG A.H.M. JONES, Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Augustus and Tiberius (Oxford 21976) no. 99.
14 IGRR I 853; SIG III 778; SEG XXXIX 752.
15 IGRR I 1164, 1166; IV 207, 1042; SEG XXVIII 1205; A. BURNETT M. AMANDRY P. RIPOLLS, Roman Provincial Coinage (London Paris 1992-) I, 3620, 4006.
16 IGRR I 853, 1150; III 845; IV 1288; SIG III 791A; SB 8317; SEG XXXVII 484. Since KIM, "Anarthrous", 233, was aware of only one of these inscriptions, he erroneously viewed it as an exception.
17 IGRR III 715; IV 144; SEG XXXVI 1092; BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, 2344-2346.
18 IGRR I 659; III 933 = EHRENBERG JONES, Documents, no. 134. Cf. IGRR III 721.
19 Augustus forced Tiberius to adopt Gaius" father Germanicus. Though Tiberius designated Gaius and Gemellus as his joint-heirs, the Senate deprived Gemellus of his share.
20 IG VII 2711 = M. SMALLWOOD, Documents Illustrating the Principates of Gaius, Claudius and Nero (London 1967) no. 361.
21 A.A. BARRETT, Caligula. The Corruption of Power (New Haven London 1990) 143-153. A damaged Attic fragment apparently called Gaius jArh[oj] ui(o/n (CIA III 444a), though this reading is not certain.
22 IGRR III 768 = M.P. CHARLESWORTH, Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Claudius & Nero (Cambridge 1939) Part I, no. 24; IGRR IV 1505; SEG XLIV 1205.
23 POxy 2555; SEG XXXVII 1221; SMALLWOOD, Documents, no. 135.
24 Note the striking words "by the grace of the god Claudius" in IGRR I 1263. Claudius is simply called "Claudius" in Acts 11,28; 18,2.
25 Both formulas occur in IGRR III 15; IV 1124 = SMALLWOOD, Documents, no. 412(b); SIG III 808; SEG IX 352 = CHARLESWORTH, Documents, Part II, no. 4b; SEG XLVI 2189. At least three of these inscriptions date from the early years of Nero"s reign.
26 K.K. CARROLL, The Parthenon Inscription (GRBM 9) (Durham, NC 1982) 16-17, 41-43. The other two inscriptions are on marble bases; see SEG XXXII 252.
27 BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, 4174-4175. The name "Claudius" in the genitive sequence Ne/rwnoj Klaudi/ou qeou= ui( Kai/saroj Seb on these coins is ambiguous, for it could refer to Nero"s adoptive father Claudius or to Nero himself as "Nero Claudius". The latter interpretation is supported by the fact that the name "Nero Claudius" appears in unambiguous legends on many coins issued during Nero"s reign; see BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, Part II, 777-778.
28 SMALLWOOD, Documents, no. 64, 387; BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, 2433-2434, 2923, 3107.
29 P. JOUGUET, "Vespasien acclam dans l"hippodrome d"Alexandrie", Mlanges de philologie, de littrature et d"histoire anciennes offerts Alfred Ernout (Paris 1940) 201-210. This reading and date are accepted by A. HENRICHS, "Vespasian"s Visit to Alexandria", ZPE 3 (1968) 59; B. LEVICK, Vespasian (London 1999) 69.
30 HENRICHS, "Vespasian"s Visit", 59; LEVICK, Vespasian, 69. This conclusion is rejected by JOUGUET, "Vespasien", 207-208.
31 K. SCOTT, The Imperial Cult under the Flavians (Stuttgart 1936) 33-34; P. BURETH, Les Titulatures impriales dans les papyrus, les ostraca et les inscriptions d"gypte (30 a.C. 284 p.C.) (Bruxelles 1964) 39; BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, II, 726-729.
32 IGRR III 690; IV 211; M. MCCRUM A.G. WOODHEAD, Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of Revolution A.D. 68-96 (Cambridge 1966) no. 199. An expanded formula occurs in IGRR IV 845.
33 IGRR IV 1559.
34 IGRR III 724.
35 IGRR IV 846.
36 SEG XXXIX 1388; BURETH, Titulatures, 40; MCCRUM WOODHEAD, Select Documents, no. 111, 138(b).
37 IGRR IV 211 = MCCRUM WOODHEAD, Select Documents, no. 136.
38 SEG XXVII 1009-1010; MCCRUM WOODHEAD, Select Documents, no. 121, 123, 463. Cf. also the expanded formula in IGRR IV 1393.
39 BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, II, 1727-1728, 1746-1749, 1752-1756, 2598-2601, 2603-2605, 2610, 2615, 2619, 2657, 2667, 2671-2678, 2694-2713, 2721-2733, 2735, 2771-2774, 2777-2781; cf. also 2652, 2775-2776.
40 IGRR I 862; SCOTT, Imperial Cult, 96-98; BURETH, Titulatures, 44; MCCRUM WOODHEAD, Select Documents, no. 121.
41 KIM, "Anarthrous", 225.
42 EHRENBERG JONES, Documents, no. 136.
43 W. SCHENK, Die Sprache des Matthus. Die Text-Konstituenten in ihren makro- und mikrostrukturellen Relationen (Gttingen 1986) 285.
44 S.J. FRIESEN, Twice Neokoros. Ephesus, Asia and the Cult of the Flavian Imperial Family (RGRW 116; Leiden New York Kln 1993) 7-15.
45 S.R.F. PRICE, Rituals and Power. The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge 1984) 58.
46 H. HNLEIN-SCHFER, Veneratio Augusti. Eine Studie zu den Tempeln des ersten rmischen Kaisers (Archaeologica 39; Rome 1985) 113-254.
47 For a survey of the locations proposed by forty scholars, see DAVIES ALLISON, Matthew, I, 138-139.
48 Josephus, Bell. iud., 1.403, 404, 414; Ant., 15.298, 339, 363-364.
49 HNLEIN-SCHFER, Veneratio Augusti, 198-203; Z.U. MA"OZ, "Banias", The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (ed. E. STERN) (Jerusalem New York 1993) I, 136-143, esp. 140; L.C. KAHN, "King Herod"s Temple of Roma and Augustus at Caesarea Maritima", Caesarea Maritima. A Retrospective after Two Millenia (ed. A. RABAN K.G. HOLUM) (DMOA 21; Leiden 1996) 130-145. All three of these temples were probably dedicated to both Roma and Augustus.
50 A. YARBRO COLLINS, "The Worship of Jesus and the Imperial Cult", The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism. Papers from the St. Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (ed. C.C. NEWMAN J.R. DAVILA G.S. LEWIS) (JSJSup 63.; Leiden Boston Kln 1999) 256-257.
51 G. DOWNEY, A History of Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conquest (Princeton 1961) 179-182, 183, 191, 196, 202, 206-207; W. CARTER, Matthew and the Margins. A Sociopolitical and Religious Reading (JSNTSS 204; Sheffield 2000) 36-38.
52 DOWNEY, History of Antioch, 167.
53 SEG XLIV 938. See also SEG XI 922-23; XXXVII 1007.
54 BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, Part II, 773; II, Part II, 362.
55 FRIESEN, Twice Neokoros, 15-21.
56 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 58.
57 L. ROBERT, "Le culte de Caligula Milet et la province d"Asie", Hellenica 7 (1949) 206-238; FRIESEN, Twice Neokoros, 21-26.
58 DAVIES ALLISON, Matthew, I, 138, for example, conclude that "Matthew was almost certainly written between A.D. 70 and A.D. 100, in all probability between A.D. 80 and 95".
59 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 61-62.
60 CARTER, Matthew and the Margins, 37-38.
61 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 89.
62 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 266, 273; LEVICK, Vespasian, 75.
63 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 140, 178, 182, 187, and esp. 255; FRIESEN, Twice Neokoros, 29-75; G. Biguzzi, "Ephesus, Its Artemision, Its Temple to the Flavian Emperors, and Idolatry in Revelation", NT 40 (1998) 276-290.
64 PRICE, Rituals and Power, 183, 264, 272. The Flavian cult was also established in the West; see P. SOUTHERN, Domitian. Tragic Tyrant (Bloomington Indianapolis 1997) 37-38, 46.
65 MCCRUM WOODHEAD, Select Documents, no. 466.
66 SEG XXVII 1009-1010. Concerning Domitian"s possible use of the title dominus et deus noster, see L.L. THOMPSON, The Book of Revelation. Apocalypse and Empire (New York Oxford 1990) 104-107; B.W. JONES, The Emperor Domitian (London New York 1992) 108-109.
67 W. WRUCK, Die syrische Provinzialprgung von Augustus bis Traian (Stuttgart 1931) 17-18, 44, 178-181; BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, 4006, 4087 (?), 4150, 4161, 4174-4175. Coins struck in Tarsus and Anazarbus, cities which had been part of the province of Syria prior to about 72 CE, call Domitian qeou= ui(o/j; see BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, II, 1727-1728; 1746-1749, 1752-1756.
68 BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, II, 2231, 2300-2303. A coin struck in Paneas even used the word diva when referring to Poppaea and Claudia. See BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, I, 4846.
69 BURNETT et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, II, 2265-2266, 2269-2272.
70 Cf. Mark 15,32; Luke 23,35.
71 The fourth phrase is in Matt 27,33.
72 The fourth phrase is in Matt 13,55. Note, in contrast, the word order of the phrase ui(oi_ qeou= in 5,9. Cf. also 5,45.
73 R.L. MOWERY, "Subtle Differences: The Matthean "Son of God" References", NT 32 (1990) 198-199.
74 Such a christological formula, if it existed, could have originally been modeled after an existing formula like the imperial son of god formula.
75 See KIM, "Anarthrous", 221-241; JOHNSON, "Mark 15,39", 406-413; and the other studies they cite.
76 YARBRO COLLINS, "Worship of Jesus", 257, though she claims that the royal and messianic use of this epithet in Jewish tradition represents "the best analogy and perhaps the source of its application to Jesus" in Mark.
77 A rare exception occurs in IGRR IV 1173.
78 KIM, "Anarthrous", 240, concludes that Mark"s use of the language of the Roman imperial cult in 1,1 and 15,39 was "deliberate". This conclusion is rightly rejected by JOHNSON, "Mark 15,39", 407-408. We are focusing not on Matthew"s intentions but on the likely response of some members of his community. Cf. CARTER, Matthew and the Margins, 537.