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In die Skriflig

versão On-line ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.43 no.3 Cape Town Jan. 2009

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

Constructing the rights and duties of slave-owners as socio-historic context of the New Testament

 

'n Konstruksie van die regte en verpligtings van slawe-eienaars as 'n sosio-historiese konteks van die Nuwe Testament

 

 

H. Goede; F. Janse van Rensburg

School of Biblical Studies & Ancient Languages, Potchefstroom Campus. North-West University. Potchefstroom. E-mail: Hennie.Goede@nwu.ac.za, Fika.JanseVanRensburg@nwu.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

This article aims to construct the rights and duties of slave-owners in antiquity as part of the socio-historical context of the New Testament. In order to achieve this aim, the primary sources referring to Greek, Roman and Jewish law of slavery will first be described. Three aspects of the law of slavery, namely legal definitions of freedom and slavery, the legal status of slaves, and the rights of slave-owners are investigated in Greek, Roman and Jewish law. Relevant texts from these sources are then identified, analysed and interpreted. The results of this process of analysis and interpretation are used to construct the legal context within which the exhortations directed at slave-owners in the New Testament should be read. We submit that Jewish law provided a sound alternative legal and religious context to the writers of the New Testament addressing Christian slave-owners. This alternative context functioned as a counterweight to the strict legal contexts provided by Greek and Roman law.


OPSOMMING

Hierdie artikel het ten doel om die regte en verpligtings van slawe-eienaars in die antieke tyd te konstrueer as onderdeel van die sosio-historiese konteks van die Nuwe Testament. Ten einde hierdie doel te bereik, word die primêre bronne van Griekse, Romeinse en Joodse reg eerstens beskryf. Drie aspekte van die reg op slawerny word in Griekse, Romeinse en Joodse reg ondersoek, naamlik regsdefinisies van vryheid en slawerny, die regstatus van slawe en die regte van slaweeienaars. Relevante tekste uit hierdie bronne word vervolgens geïdentifiseer, geanaliseer en geïnterpreteer. Die resultate van hierdie proses van analise en interpretasie word gebruik om die regskonteks waarbinne die oproepe tot slawe-eienaars in die Nuwe Testament gelees moet word, te konstrueer. Ons doen aan die hand dat Joodse reg 'n gegronde alternatiewe regs- en godsdienstige konteks vir die skrywers van die Nuwe Testament gebied het waarbinne met Christen slawe-eienaars gepraat is. Hierdie alternatiewe konteks het as 'n teenwig gefunksioneer teen die streng regskontekste van die Griekse en Romeinse reg.


 

 

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