n Acta Patristica et Byzantina - Striking family hierarchies : Luke 12:35-48, gender and slavery

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-6486



In this article I use the parable in Luke 12:35-48 "to think with". The parable talks about a master who leaves his house, after which the trusted slave misuses his privileged position and starts beating his subordinates in the household. According to Luke, Jesus tells the disciples this parable in order to teach them to be prepared. The terminology opens up a variety of scenarios: either the trusted slave strikes his fellow slaves, both male and female, or he strikes boys and girls. Such physical punishment was probably common in ancient families, where slave bodies were part of their owner's property, and where children had to obey their parents. Luke constructs theology and ideal virtues by use of violence and abuse, according to power structures in which class, gender and age intersect. This article will address some of these intersections, highlighting issues of slavery, family and gender. I develop an intersectional critique of memory theory in order to reflect on how interpreters are confronted with several challenges when New Testament texts are used as models for family life.

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