EXC 2060 A3-27 - Cosmocracy and Pantocracy in Early Christianity (KoPaC): Roots, Functions, and Effects of Early Christian Rulership Images

in Process
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1
  • Description

    "Cosmocracy" denotes the image of a world ruler in Christian and pagan antiquity. The iconography of Christ as cosmocrator belongs to the impressive images of Christ in the history of culture and theology. The roots of the ancient Christian conceptions of cosmocracy lie in the early Christian sources, more precisely in the New Testament writings. Even beyond lexis (κοσμοκράτωρ/παντοκράτωρ), the motific range of cosmocratic ideas associated with the Christ-figure is present here in many ways. The KoPaC project seeks to describe the New Testament motif domain comprehensively and to evaluate it in its contemporary historical context (Hellenism and the Principate). The following research questions are relevant:

    • With what function do the early Christian texts transfer cosmocratic ideas of rule to Christ?
    • In which text types are the cosmocratic concepts of rule shaped – what kinds of religious and social historical backgrounds become recognizable?
    • What is the effect of the literary staging of cosmocracy – in contrast to the figurative representation (e.g. on coins or gems)?
    • Can "cosmocracy" and "pantocracy" be conceptually distinguished?
    • What is the significance of the kyrios lexis in shaping conceptions of cosmocracy since Hellenistic times?
    • What effect do conceptions of Christ as cosmocrator have on the development of Christological thought, on the one hand, and on the display of power by Roman emperors in late antiquity, on the other?
    • Do the early Christian ideas of power shape the self-understanding (identity formation) of (ancient) Christianity as an "anti-imperial" movement?
    • In what way does the early Christian conception of cosmocracy enter into the imperial discourse of power – in a tension between religion and politics?

    The KoPaC project will provide a lexical and semantic inventory of cosmocracy and its transfer to the Christ-figure in early Christianity. It will classify such inventory in terms of the history of religion, describe it in terms of the history of ideas, and pursue it in terms of the history of its effects.

  • Persons