The Development of Oikonomia and Slave-Management in Hellenistic and Early Roman Antiquity

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OIKONOMIA AND SLAVE-MANAGEMENT IN EARLY JUDAISM

When looking at the division of discussion points in this chapter, from Hellenistic, Roman and now Judaistic-Christian sources, it may seem as if one can neatly divide these ‘groups’ into separate, socio-cultural and religious divisions. This however is not the case for the world of the ancient Mediterranean. The cultures of this world, be it Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Judaistic278 etc, were not exempt from inter-cultural influence. Thus, I want to make it clear that I do not consider these movements or cultures as being separate entities – they are intermeshed in a very complex manner. Early Christianity has been redescribed, correctly in my opinion, also as a Graeco-Roman religion despite its undeniable links with early Judaism. 279 Boyarin has argued that early Christianity and Judaism were in fact ‘twins’, with much trans-cultural and transreligious influence from both sides.280 He argues that one can only really speak of a Christianity separated remotely from Judaism from the fourth century onwards, with the appearance of Constantinian Christianity. Moreover, Judaistic authors like Philo and Josephus, writing and often ‘thinking’ in Greek within the Roman Empire are difficult to categorize.
Even the conventional and oft-utilized term ‘Hellenism’ has recently come under scrutiny. Ehrensperger highlights the complexities of someone like Paul, who speaks Greek, under the Roman Empire, even using a Roman name.281 She convincingly demonstrates, in line with the work of WallaceHadrill,282 that many of the terms and models for understanding the ancient world, since the work of Hengel283 up to contemporary cultural and postcolonial criticism of biblical literature, leave many questions unanswered and more importantly have been responsible for creating several misconceptions regarding ancient Mediterranean culture. It is with these caveats in mind that this study now moves to the discussion of early Judaism and Christianity. It also assumes that these movements were not monolithic within themselves, and that it is much more appropriate to speak of early Judaisms and Christianities. So how do these movements conceive and profess to practise slave-management?

THE PAULINE HAUSTAFELN: EARLY CHRISTIAN OIKONOMIA, PASTORAL GOVERNMENTALITY AND SLAVE-MANAGEMENT

As mentioned earlier, in its nascent years Christianity was seen as nothing more than a sect of Judaism. The earliest witnesses we have from Christian sources are the letters of Paul, the corpus whose interpretation by Chrysostom in his homilies is the main concern of this entire study. The key scriptures that have been identified for discussion are 1 Corinthians 7:21, the topic of chapter 4, the entire Epistle to Philemon, the topic of chapter 5 on the carceral body, and finally, the early Christian household codes from Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy and Titus, the topic of the next chapter on the domesticity of the slave-body. Although we acknowledge that all the texts just mentioned concern issues of oikonomia and slave-management, in this chapter we will now focus in the remainder of this chapter primarily on the household codes or haustafeln, and their interpretation by late ancient Christian authors other than John Chrysostom. Reference will also be made to non-Christian historians of late antiquity. The haustafeln of the New Testament are grouped within the documents of known as deutero-Pauline writings.321 These writings do not seem to display the characteristics of authentic Pauline authorship, although they bear the name of Paul and show much continuity with the Pauline theology seen in the authentic Pauline epistles. The Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy and Titus all contain advice to Christians on how to manage their households. In the non-Pauline First Epistle of Peter, a similar set of instructions is provided. There are also very similar tables in the Doctrina Apostolorum 4.10-11, the Didache 4.10-11 and in the Epistle of Barnabas 19.7.322 The instructions show a recurring pattern.

Slave-Management in Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-41: The Beginnings of Christian Social Contracts and Christic Panopticism

The pericope in Ephesians is a very descriptive account of slave-management in the context of the haustafeln, and it is important to view the advice given to slaves and slaveholders in the context of not only the other statements, but also in the wider context of the letter. Harrill is again right in noting that the section in Ephesians 5:15-20, just before the haustafeln are encountered and even after (the section on the armour of God in Eph. 6:10-20), other ‘codes’ are given that are meant to bind the Christians together in one collective family.325 The section in Ephesians 5:15-20 is therefore a virtue-discourse. In these verses, the author promotes the lifestyle of a wise person, and specifically refers to the abuse of wine. Thereafter it is stated that believers need to participate in the singing of songs and hymns. Behind all this is the basic assumption that after baptism, the believers are unified into one family, assuming a fictive kinship structure (Eph. 4:22-24). Then follows the statement that serves as a basis for the haustafeln (Eph 5:21): ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ’.

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OIKONOMIA AND SLAVE-MANAGEMENT IN LATE ANTIQUITY

How were these texts read and understood by the Christian authors of late antiquity? Due to the scope of this study, the focus will now specifically be on the deutero-Pauline haustafeln, and not the Petrine haustafeln, although the concepts developed from its reading will apply. Authors commenting on these passages will be discussed, and it will also be examined how these discussions fit into the authors’ wider understanding of slavery. Many of the concepts highlighted in the discussions above are developed and reimagined by many of these authors. We will now briefly look at some interpretations in late antiquity. This analysis will highlight how these Christian authors understood slave-management.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON EPHESIANS 6:5-9 (HOM. EPH. 22)

The entire Homilia in epistulam ad Ephesios 22 is dedicated to the statements directed to slaves in the Ephesian haustafeln. While the provenance of the homilies is mostly difficult to determine, it does seem that the homily may have been preached in Antioch at some point between 393- 397.502 Quasten also confirms this on the grounds of the mention of Babylas in homily 9 and Julian in homily 21.503

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • SUMMARY
  • OPSOMMING
  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
  • LIST OF ANCIENT AUTHORS AND SOURCES
  • CHAPTER 1: APPROACHING AND PROBLEMATISING SLAVERY IN CHRYSOSTOMIC LITERATURE
    • 1 Introduction to and Development of the Research Project
    • 2 John Chrysostom, Slavery and Late Ancient Studies
    • 3 Status Quaestionis: Slavery and John Chrysostom
    • 3.1 Wulf Jaeger: ‘Die Sklaverei bei Johannes Chrysostomus’ (1974)
    • 3.2 Georg Kontoulis: Zum Problem der Sklaverei (ΔΟΥΛΕΙΑ) bei den kappadokischen Kirchenvatern und Johannes Chrysostomus (1993)
    • 3.3 Kyle Harper: Slavery in the Late Roman World AD 275-425 (2011)
    • 3.4 Other Studies of Importance
    • 3.4.1 Richard Klein
    • 3.4.2 Jennifer Glancy
    • 3.4.3 Youval Rotman
    • 4 Problem Statement and Methodology
    • 5 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 2: REVISITING AND RECONSTRUCTING THE HABITUS OF ROMAN SLAVEHOLDING: THE MANAGEMENT OF SLAVE-BODIES IN HELLENISTIC, ROMAN, JUDAISTIC AND CHRISTIAN ANTIQUITY
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Background to the Study of the Roman Household
    • 3 The Development of Oikonomia and Slave-Management in Hellenistic and Early Roman Antiquity
    • 3.1 Xenophon’s Oeconomicus
    • 3.2 Plato, Aristotle, and Pseudo-Aristotle’s Oeconomica
    • 3.3 Philodemus’ De Oeconomia
    • 3.4 Cato’s De Agricultura
    • 3.5 Varro’s Rerum Rusticarum
    • 3.6 Columella’s De Re Rustica
    • 3.7 Palladius’ Opus Agriculturae
    • 3.8 Stoic Formulations of Divine Oikonomia and the Implications for Slave-Management: The Case of Seneca’s Epistula
    • 4 Oikonomia and Slave-Management in Early Judaism
    • 5 The Pauline haustafeln: Early Christian Oikonomia, Pastoral Governmentality and SlaveManagement
    • 5.1 Slave-Management in Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-41: The Beginnings of Christian Social Contracts and Christic Panopticism
    • 5.2 Power and the Pastorals: The Development of Christian Pastoral Governmentality and Psychagogy related to Slave-Management
    • 5.3 Pastoral Technologies and the Petrine Haustafeln: Slavery, Suffering and Early Christian Discourses of Normalization
    • 6 Oikonomia and Slave-Management in Late Antiquity
    • 7 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 3: THE DOMESTIC BODY: JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, SLAVERY AND THE ANCIENT DISCOURSE OF OIKONOMIA
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 The Bishop as Domestic Advisor
    • 3 John Chrysostom on Ephesians 6:5-9 (Hom. Eph. 22)
    • 4 John Chrysostom on Colossians 3:22-41 (Hom. Col. 10)
    • 5 John Chrysostom on 1 Timothy 6:1-2 (Hom. I Tim. 16)
    • 6 John Chrysostom on Titus 2:9-10 (Hom. Tit. 4)
    • 7 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 4: THE HETERONOMOUS BODY: SLAVERY, HUMANNESS AND SUBJECTIVITY IN JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S INTERPRETATION OF 1 CORINTHIANS 7:
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 The Problem of 1 Corinthians 7:
    • 3 The Stoics, Philo and Moral Slavery
    • 4 Paul, John Chrysostom and the Heteronomous Body
    • 5 Heteronomy, Subjectivity and the Problem of Humanness in Chrysostomic Thought
    • 6 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 5: THE CARCERAL BODY: SLAVE-CARCERALITY AND JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S HOMILIES ON PHILEMON
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Slave-Carcerality and the Power of Normalization in Late Ancient Christianity
    • 3 Slave-Carcerality, Mobility and Surveillance
    • 4 Carceral Mechanisms in John Chrysostom’s Homiliae in Epistulam ad Philemonem
    • 4.1 The Preface to the Homilies
    • 4.2 Homilia in Epistulam ad Philemonem
    • 4.3 Homilia in Epistulam ad Philemonem
    • 4.4 Homilia in Epistulam ad Philemonem
    • 5 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 6: THE COMMODIFIED BODY: SLAVES AS ECONOMIC AND SYMBOLIC CAPITAL IN CHRYSOSTOM’S HOMILIES
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 The Slave-Body as Property: Commodification and Economic/Symbolic Capital in the Context of Ancient Slavery
    • 3 John Chrysostom on Slaves as Economic Capital: The Case of Homilia in Epistulam I ad Corinthios
    • 4 John Chrysostom on Slaves as Symbolic Capital: The Case of Homilia in Epistulam ad Hebraeos
    • 5 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION
    • 1 Preliminary Observations
    • 2 John Chrysostom and the Domesticity of the Slave-Body
    • 3 John Chrysostom and the Heteronomy of the Slave-Body
    • 4 John Chrysostom and the Carcerality of the Slave-Body
    • 5 John Chrysostom and the Commodification of the Slave-Body
    • 6 Postscript: On Critical Theory/Method and the Heuristics of Slavery Studies
    • BIBLIOGRAPHY
    • INDEX OF SUBJECTS

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
SLAVERY IN JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S HOMILIES ON THE PAULINE EPISTLES AND HEBREWS: A CULTURAL-HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

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