The Bible and Beyond Podcast Episode
Ancient Roman Families and Household Models Elucidate the Biblical Book of Philemon
An Interview with Elli Elliott, PhD
Paul’s letter to his Roman colleague, Philemon, delicately balances Roman expectations for enslaved people, their masters, and the new egalitarian ideas in the Christ communities. Learning the lifestyle of ancient Rome in families and households, listeners are invited to imagine what Onesimus, Paul’s enslaved friend, must have felt when Paul’s letter was read aloud to his master, Philemon. The tension concerning the authority over a runaway slave is palpable, but not spoken.
Author of Family Empires, Roman and Christian: Volume I Roman Family Empires, Elli (formally Dr. Susan M. Elliott) is a researcher who walks the talk as a social justice advocate. She is currently convening Stone Circles: A Generative Forum for Thinking in Places, a project in the high plains of Montana and Wyoming that includes indigenous and settler thinkers. And she recently became an analyst with the Westar Institute’s new think tank.