The apostle meant what he said to Christian slaves about fear and trembling before their masters. Slaves were considered sub-human, and Roman Lords could do anything they liked with their slaves. They could harm or kill them in any manner they chose. Paul was not condoning slavery when he wrote this but rather was intent on the physical safety of those in his congregations who were slaves.
The standing of women in Roman society [and in Jewish tradition] was only slightly higher than that of slaves. Women were honored and respected in the Hebrew scriptures, but not in the Tradition’s. Jesus had nothing good to say about the Traditions, so Paul would have been concerned for the physical safety of the wives in his congregations as well, hence his warning for wives to fear their husbands.
Christian women of the first century experienced an equality of the sexes almost unheard of in all of history [before and after that era]. This liberty would certainly pose a physical threat to wives of violent controlling husbands. Such men would not tolerate wives who dared to exhibit personal autonomy. This liberty among early Christians would naturally have the effect of escalating tension. Violence would have increased in such marriages.
One shudders to think what the domestic violence mortality rate of first century women must have been. The apostle knew this. He also knew there was no [or limited] legal recourse in cases of violence against women, as “domestic violence” was not part of first century legal jargon.
... Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System: Andersen, Jocelyn: 9780979429323: Amazon.com: Books
What readers are saying:
"This book is well written, well researched, and a real eye opener."
"Andersen is a gifted writer, and the book was easy to read even as it covers thoughtful and sometimes technical information. I am glad I read it. I’ve read a great deal about women in the church and home, and it is easy to think there is nothing new to be learned or considered – but this book has a unique approach and covers aspects overlooked by others. Everything is well documented with footnotes in case you have questions or want sources."
"The author is not only a gifted writer but clearly well-studied and informed."
" I was pleased that translation bias was covered in a chapter, an issue that needs to be addressed, and one that I find quite hard to bring up with lay people or everyday believers who lack knowledge about Bible translation. We can trust our Bibles, but we also need to acknowledge that certain passages are difficult to translate and bias can come into play."
"Andersen tackles most of the primary the teachings of complementarianism with an impressive exegesis"
Bible prophecy and equality of the sexes. She is best known for her advocacy in domestic violence awareness. Her book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, has been a staple in the library of resources on that subject.
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