A literary and historical analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9
Within Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there is a set of instructions termed the Haustafeln, or “household codes.” Paul turns his focus upon roles within the home. The question that inevitably arises from a text nearing 2,000 years of age is one of relevance. Do these instructions apply to those of a different time and culture? Several matters need to be examined. Previous research has linked this passage to Aristotle, to Roman culture, and to Stoic philosophy. Since the form of the Ephesians household codes is said to resemble Aristotle’s works, a reading of Aristotle’s code is necessary. Roman household characteristics that need to be explored include the pater familias, the goal of harmony, and the Roman conceptuality of adultery. Stoic philosophy will be examined through the writings of Epictetus. By closely examining his discourses, we can look for similarities or dissimilarities to Ephesians. If Paul’s goal was for Christians to blend in to the surrounding culture, then this will be evident as these subjects are investigated. In addition to this historical work, a literary analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9 will be performed. This thesis will argue that this passage on the household, Ephesians 5:18-6:9, is best understood against a Christian and not pagan philosophical background, situated within the epistle as a natural progression of Paul’s thought that is consistent with other Scriptural teaching.
Degree Granting Institution
Master of Arts
Type of Work
Robert W. Yarbrough Ph.D.
Number of Pages
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