Despite recent attempts to read Luke-Acts as subverting Roman imperial ideology and power, the Areopagus speech in Acts 17:16–34 remains politically elusive. If Luke’s attitude toward Rome was negative, one would expect to find anti-imperial motifs in Paul’s Missionsreden, especially in Athens, where we know imperial cult media existed and where Luke most explicitly criticizes Greco-Roman religion. In this study, I investigate the political referents of the Areopagus speech through (1) an examination of the hybrid material representation of gods and kings in the urban spaces of empire, including Roman Athens; and (2) a comparative analysis of the Areopagus speech with the Wisdom of Solomon’s polemic against imperial cult media (Wis 14:16–21). In contrast to scholars who read the Areopagus speech as a critique of the traditional gods sensu stricto, I suggest that Paul’s polemic against sebasmata (“objects of worship,” Acts 17:23) and precious materials (Acts 17:29) critiques the iconic spectacle underlying the visibility and euergetism of gods and imperial authority.

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