The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse: Double Trouble Embodied, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse

Double Trouble Embodied, 1st Edition

By Marianne Bjelland Kartzow


168 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780815374657
pub: 2018-04-19
SAVE ~$28.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351241618
pub: 2018-04-17
from $17.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse adds new knowledge to the ongoing discussion of slavery in early Christian discourse. Kartzow argues that the complex tension between metaphor and social reality in early Christian discourse is undertheorized. A metaphor can be so much more than an innocent thought figure; it involves bodies, relationships, life stories, and memory in complex ways. The slavery metaphor is troubling since it makes theology of a social institution that is profoundly troubling. This study rethinks the potential meaning of the slavery metaphor in early Christian discourse by use of a variety of texts, read with a whole set of theoretical tools taken from metaphor theory and intersectional gender studies, in particular. It also takes seriously the contemporary context of modern slavery, where slavery has re-appeared as a term to name trafficking, gendered violence, and inhuman power systems.


Kartzow’s The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse fundamentally reconfigures the way that scholars approach slavery, its attendant metaphors, and its production of gender in early Christian studies. Kartzow takes the very nature of metaphor—its ability to produce multivalent meanings—and situates this multiplicity into intersectional historical analysis of early Christian discourses. The result is a powerful re-working of early Christian history that foregrounds the centrality of enslavement in the creation of theologies, literature, and histories.

- Katherine A. Shaner, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, USA

"Kartzow’s book is a well writ-ten and important contribution to the study of Early Christianity. Kartzow doubtlessly succeeds in the aims of her book: not only has she underlined the importance of gender in the analysis of slavery in Early Christianity, but she also has successfully problematized the distinction between real and metaphorical slavery."

- Mart?n Stoutjesd?k, Tilburg University, NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Thinking with Saleable Bodies: An Intersectional Approach to the Slavery Metaphor

Chapter 2: Embodying the Slavery Metaphor: Female Characters and Slavery Language

Chapter 3: Metaphor and Masculinity: The "no longer slave" Formulations (John 15:15 and Gal 4:7)

Chapter 4: The Paradox of Slavery: All Believers Are Slaves of the Lord, but Some Are More Slaves Than Others

Chapter 5: From Slave of a Female Owner to Slave of God: Negotiating Gender, Sexuality and Status in the Shepherd of Hermas

Chapter 6: Jesus, the Slave Trader: Metaphor made real in The Act of Thomas



About the Author

Marianne Bjelland Kartzow is Professor of New Testament Studies at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, Norway

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World

Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World offers monographs and edited collections which explore the most cutting-edge research in Early Christianity. Covering all aspects of world of early Christianity, from theology, archaeology and history, to urbanism, class, economics, and sexuality and gender, the series aims to situate these early Christians within the wider context of Late Antiquity.

Comprising both regional studies and broader thematic surveys, this series explores what changed with the advent of Christianity, what remained the same, and how early Christians interacted with, made sense of, and shaped the world around them. Aimed at early Christian scholars, classicists and historians alike, Studies in the Early Christian World is an invaluable resource for anyone researching this fascinating period.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General