From shame to honour : Mediterranean women in Romans 16
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"From Shame to Honour: Mediterranean Women in Romans 16" breaks new ground in the field of social-scientific criticism. This work focuses on one specific area, the role of women in the New Testament, particularly the women of Romans 16. In order to understand the ancient Mediterranean world this thesis lays a foundation of current anthropological studies of that region. By focusing on women in these cultures and looking for cultural patterns, various societal values rise to the surface. Honour and Shame, Public and Private, Power, Relationships, Death and Religion all are shown to follow specific cultural norms in regards to women. However, one cannot simply take modern anthropological findings, apply them to the ancient world and expect there to be an automatic correlation. This thesis parallels but also critiques the model Bruce Malina outlines in his work. However, this work, unlike others before it, goes to the individual cultures - Greek, Jewish and Roman - that impact the milieu of the New Testament world and studies their patterns. From the research gathered a new model has been formed that is nuanced to reflect its focus on women in the ancient world. New questions are formulated and insights gained that help us to understand better New Testament women, specifically the women of Romans 16. This thesis does not stop at this model but goes on to look at Romans 16 from a historical-critical and biblical feminist critique. It asks traditional questions of the text but also seeks to hear Romans 16 with a sensitivity to the women in the text and to the story they tell. Romans 16 provides an excellent case study for the cultural context model because it does have so much to teach us about women in the first-century world and women in the very earliest Christian groups. The women of Romans 16 appear to be as equally active in ministry as their male counterparts. This list of greetings reveals women outside of their expected gender roles, women who lead churches, who are apostles, co-workers, labourers in the gospel, patrons and ministers.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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