Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Biblical Interpretation

Despite the anthropological identification of slavery as an anti-kinship structure, some New Testament scholars have attempted to "kin-ify" the relations between slaveholders and slaves, that is, to interpret slavery as a fictive kinship structure. Commentators on Acts of the Apostles, for example, are likely to accept the patriarchal or matriarchal right of householders to enforce decisions concerning the cultic practices of household slaves. By suggesting that the Spirit responds to the invitations of slaveholders, household by patriarchal household, Acts treats enslaved members of households as dependent bodies subjected to the intellectual and spiritual authority of slaveholders. By accepting uncritically Luke's portrait of the growth of the church, household by patriarchal household, commentators unwittingly buy into a family plot that legitimates the slaveholder's preferred vision of the household. Drawing on sources as disparate as Egyptian papyri of the Roman era and personal family history, this article challenges attempts to subsume relationships of slavery within the warm circle of the family. At the same time, the article warns against sentimental depictions of maternal and other family ties. In the first century as in the twenty-first century, the family could be a locus of exploitation and alienation. The natal alienation at the heart of the ancient slave experience is ultimately intertwined with the forms of alienation inherent within families themselves. It is not that relations of slavery are warmer than we might expect, but rather that relations between even the closest of kin can be more exploitative than we want to admit.

Affiliations: 1: Le Moyne College


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Biblical Interpretation — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation