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Household Code

Balch, David L. "Household Codes," GRECO-ROMAN LITERATURE AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, David E. Aune ed. SBL 21 pp.25-50.

I. The Origin of the Form, its Social Function, and Characteristics of Individual Exhortations

A. Evaluation of the Research on Form and Function

Summary on pp.35-36.

Consensus: derived from the Hellenistic discussions of "household management"

Differences in the following:

1.Thraede: Codes represent ONLY 1 philosophical option

Balch : Church's apologetic response to Greco-Roman society

2.Thraede, Muller: An advance (Fortschritt) over alternatives in Jewish and Neopythagorean circles

Shussler Fiorenza: To patriarchalize church office and to marginalize influential women

3.Thraede,Muller,Shussler Fiorenza: No critique of Roman society in these codes

Balch: 1 Peter and Col. correct key Hellenistic values about justice & piety.

4.Elliot: The code in 1 Peter encourage x'ns to terminate familial, social religious ties with pagans

Luhrmann, Balch, Shussler Fiorenza: The code encourage adaptation of Greco-Roman values over against social patterns in the early Jesus movement and in Pauline Christianity.

B. Characteristic Features of the Individual Exhortations


II. Arius Didymus, Concerning "Household Management" and "Politics"

A. Introduction

B. Translation of Arius Didymus


III. Notes on Arius Didymus' Text

Didymus presents

1.the relationships by pairs.

2.the patriarch is the ruler over women, children and slaves.

3.topos retains its Aritotelian, four-part structure: fatherhood, marriage, mastership, and moneymaking. N.B. NT drop the moneymaking aspect.

4.The nature of the authority exercised within these relationships is still a concern. eg. Callicratidas Col. 3:19, 21; 4:1; Eph. 5:25-29, 33; 6:4, 9; 1 Pet 2:20; 3:6; Ignatius, Poly. 4:3, etc. In Eph. 6:9 "masters...forbear threatening" Philodemus Concerning Household Management (32,3-7 Jensen): slaves' punishment is to be moderate, not unreasonable.

5.Didymus' text still relates the house to the city. The NT codes drop this vocabulary. But exhort x'ns to obey rulers. e.g. 1 Pet 2:13-17; 1 Tim 2:1-2; Tit 3:1; see 1 Clement 21:1; 61:1)

6.He summaries Aristotle's ideas.

7.the Greek style is execrable. Didymus uses a lot imperatival infinitives dependent on words like anagkaion, legetai. Vs NT is rare. Tit 2:2-10 accusatives with infinitives, in vs. 6 parakalei. Didymus uses impersonal verbs often: anagkaion, lekteon, chresimon.


IV. Household Codes in the NT and in Early X'n Literature

Sampley & Verner:

X'n household codes go through a clear development: these classes.

Col. & Eph. : 6 groups in 3 pairs. use reciprocal pronoun (allelon)

1 Peter : not all these classes --> all of you (1 Pet 3:8) Pastoral epistle: No pairs of classes: Only one, not pairs.

1 Tim 6:1-2 & Tit 2:9-10 Slaves, not masters.No use of reciprocal pronoun. Most authors clarify how the wife is to relate to the husband; (1 Tim 2:12-14; Tit 2:4-5) but divided by age in (So do Ignatius, Polycarp and Polycarp, Philippians ) Polycarp makes widows as object of care. concerned bishop's behavior toward slaves. The address to all these social classes is unusual.

The address to wives and children is older than Hellenistic Judaism. But, direct address to slaves in Col., Eph. & 1 Pet remains quite unusual. Pastoral epistles closer to Perispateric-Neopythagorean tradition than Col.

Social classes (not paired) as in Aristotle. VS Social classes paired. In other words, the movement from Col. & 1 Peter to the Pastorals is a movement toward what is more common in contemporary Hellenistic household ethics, losing what is most unusual. This development loses the reciprocity reflected

The reason clauses expanded: X'logical support OT

1 Peter 2 on slaves 1 Pet 2:21-25 --------

Ephesius 5 on wives ------------ Eph. 5:31

Ignatius Poly 4 with a list of virtues. ------------ --------

Col ----------- Col 3:24 --------

Expansion of certain sections is also as old as Aristotle. Aristotle Politics I on master-slave section. Concerning the Association of Husband and Wife Epictetus Dis. 2.10 on how one relate to others as a man, citizen, son. Stoic Hierocles' treatise.

Epictetus Dis. 2.14.8 on one as a son, father, brother, citizen, husband, wife, neighbor, fellow traveler, ruler and subject. (cf. Chinese Philosophy : 五倫: 君臣、父子、兄弟、夫妻、朋友。) There are political relationship (or working relationship too) & family relationship (parent-child, sibling, and spouse) & social relationship (friend).


V. Annotated Bibliography