2. A. In chapter 1, Carter states that he will sketch the hierarchical structure of the Roman Empire. The author does this to ensure the reader has appropriate amount of background knowledge about Rome during the 1st century to be able to understand his arguments that the Roman Empire provides the political, economic, societal, and religious framework, as well as the context for the New Testament’s claims, language, structures, personnel, and scenes (1-3). The author also used this information to demonstrate how the ruling elite benefitted from this hierarchical structure at the expense of the non- elite.
B. One interesting point Carter made was that slaves not only provided physical labor, but also provided highly valued skills, such as education, business, and medicine (9). Typically, I think of slaves as generally uneducated, only performing manual labor that is physically intensive; therefore, this statement was particularly intriguing because it meant despite having these skills, these people were still able to be exploited by the elite and treated poorly. Additionally, the dynamic relationship between emperors and the elite was also interesting. Carter states that the elite would make public displays of their wealth (such as b...
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...itionally, each state has their own governor, and just as governors in the first century, today governors are responsible for keeping local elites satisfied and maintaining order. As stated by Carter, Pilate had to be careful when making his decision to execute Jesus, as such an act could result in a violent uprising (39). Similarly, today political leaders must be careful when deciding what laws to pass, especially controversial ones, to ensure violence does not result. For example, laws such as allowing gay marriage or legalizing marijuana bring out strong opinions among Americans; therefore, before these laws were passed in certain states, public opinion was gauged to ensure a violent rebellion was not expected. Finally, the United States has soldiers to protect against violence within the country, which was also a responsibility of soldiers of the first century.
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