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.
Thank you for these insights into Roman society and the book of Philemon. Philemon will always have a special place in my heart because it is the first book of the Bible I can remember reading in its entirety! I look forward to a future podcast covering the roles of women in Roman society – specifically wife and Aphia.
Fascinating to find out about the societal levels as they intertwined and what the Christ groups had to overcome in becoming more equal in their fellowship and missions. Thank you so much for providing these podcasts packed with information to open up the Bible!