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The Impact of Household Slaves on the Jewish Family in Roman Palestine

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In late antiquity most of the slaves owned by Jewish slave owners in Roman Palestine seem to have been domestic slaves. These slaves formed an integral part of the Jewish household and played an important role within the family economy. In a number of respects the master-slave relationship resembled the wife-husband, child-father, and student-teacher relationships, and affectionate bonds between the slave and his master (or nursling) would have an impact on relationships between other members of the family. Master and slave were linked to each other through mutual ties of dependency which counteracted the basic powerlessness of slaves. On the other hand, slaves had to suffer sexual exploitation and were considered honorless. Rabbinic sources reveal both similarities and differences between Jewish and Graeco-Roman attitudes toward slaves. The Jewish view of the master-slave relationship also served as the basis for its metaphorical use.

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/content/journals/10.1163/157006303772777026
2003-12-01
2016-08-30

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