1st Edition

The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse Double Trouble Embodied

By Marianne Bjelland Kartzow Copyright 2018
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    Introduction; 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; Conclusion; Index


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

    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


    "This book is especially thought-provokingand important for anyone working on slavery in the ancient world, especially as it is described in early Christian texts. The book throughout raises important questions about how slavery as a metaphor (e.g. “slave of the Lord”) related to the actual lived experience of slavery as a social, cultural, and economic system... This book is a must read for anyone interested in slavery as it is depicted in ancient narratives and as it was (and is experienced) in the lived experience of real people." - Eric Stewart, Augustana College, USA, Biblical Theology Bulletin