Bodies and Souls

Jennifer A. Glancy

in Slavery in Early Christianity

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195136098
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834228 | DOI:
Bodies and Souls

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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

Chapter.  18448 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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