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Out of Mind, Out of Voice: Slave-Girls and Prophetic Daughters in Luke-Acts

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image of Biblical Interpretation

The promise in Acts 2 (disclosed in Peter's programmatic citation of Joel at Pentecost) that women in general and female slaves in particular will become Spirit-inspired prophets is never fully realized and is even resisted to some degree within the wider Lukan narrative. An examination of three cases involving direct speech by slave-girls (paidiskai) in Luke-Acts, set within diverse literary and social contexts (Lk. 22.54-62; Acts 12.12-17; 16.16-18), uncovers a consistent pattern of truthful proclamation on the part of each slave-girl followed, however, by some form of repudiation-even stigmatization-of her and her message. Despite its more inclusive and receptive ideals, ultimately Luke-Acts more mirrors than challenges conventional first-century Mediterranean society in its suppression of lower-class female voices.

Affiliations: 1: Wingate University


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