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Slavery in Early Christianity$
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Jennifer A. Glancy

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195136098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195136098.001.0001

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Bodies and Souls

Bodies and Souls

The Rhetoric of Slavery

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Bodies and Souls
Source:
Slavery in Early Christianity
Author(s):

Jennifer A. Glancy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195136098.003.0002

Sōma, the Greek word for body, is a synonym for slave. Servile status affected a person's experience of being female or male, especially as slaves, generally considered to be without honor, were their owners’ sexual property. Early Christian authors shared with Stoic philosophers a tendency to minimize the significance of physical slavery, emphasizing instead the dangers of spiritual slavery; however, even as they warned readers about spiritual slavery, writers invoked the corporal dimensions of slavery, i.e., the association between slaves and bodies. The Discourses of the freedman philosopher Epictetus and Paul's letter to the Galatians illustrate this simultaneous dismissal of the liabilities of physical slavery and reliance on the somatic metaphor to express the risks of spiritual slavery.

Keywords:   bodies, body, Epictetus, female, Galatians, honor, male, metaphor, sexual, spiritual

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