By Professor Dale B. Martin
Early Christians often used metaphors approximately slavery, calling themselves slaves of God and Christ and bearing on their leaders as slave representatives of Christ. so much biblical students have insisted that this language may were distasteful to strength converts within the Greco-Roman global, and so they have puzzled why early Christians comparable to Paul used clone of slavery to painting salvation. during this publication, the writer addresses the difficulty through interpreting the social historical past and rhetorical and theological conventions of the days. the 1st half the ebook attracts on quite a few historic assets - inscriptions, novels, speeches, dream-handbooks, and agricultural manuals - to painting the complexity of slavery within the early Roman Empire. targeting middle-level, managerial slaves, the writer indicates how slavery occasionally functioned as a way of upward social mobility and as a sort of status-by-association for these slaves who have been brokers of participants of the higher classification. accordingly, he claims, "slavery to Christ" introduced the Christian convert a definite measure of symbolic prestige and lent the Christian chief a undeniable form of derived authority. the second one half the e-book strains the Graeco-Roman use of political rhetoric that spoke approximately populist leaders as "enslaved" to their fans, particularly to contributors of the decrease type. this gives the context for Paul's declare, in I Corinthians nine, that he has enslaved himself to "all" - that's, to these very humans he's speculated to lead as an apostle. the writer therefore translates this assertion to intend that Paul identifies himself with the pursuits of people with reduce prestige within the Corinthian church, calling on people with larger prestige to mimic his self-debasement with a purpose to additional the pursuits of these less than them at the social scale.
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Additional info for Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity
At any rate, here is an example of a well-placed imperial slave taking advantage of the patronage of a provincial pro curator. Both of t h e m receive honor by having their names on the inscription. Often clients needed more subtle assistance, such as letters of recom mendation. T h e letters of Pliny the Younger and Cicero provide many examples of such assistance. For example, when Pliny wanted to reward an Egyptian freedman who was an expert at douches, enemas, and mas sage and w h o had done him a good turn, he wrote a letter to the emperor requesting citizenship for the m a n .
T h e y bear, probably without shame, names that bespeak servitude, for example, Hope-bearer, Pilot, Gain, Well-wed, and Changeable. " These details suggest that at least many slaves seem to have accepted their positions in the patronal structure of society. T h e obligations and benefits of patronage provided the actual and ideological framework within which many slaves, especially those in high er positions, worked. It is no wonder, therefore, that so little evidence exists of revolutionary sentiment and activity among slaves.
Contains a decree passed by "the council and demos of Iulia G o r d u s and the Romans serving among us as prag m a t e u t a i . " T h i s could refer simply to Romans carrying on business in these cities, but the terminology sounds rather more official, as if referring to an established association of Roman citizens who lived in these cities. E. At any rate, these persons appear to have been free. But their situation is special and does not overturn the general impression that the term pragmateutes usually indicates a slave or freedman agent or manager employed by a private family.
Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity by Professor Dale B. Martin