Phoebe: Patron and Emissary Paperback – Dec 1 2009
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[T]his wonderfully accessible, engaging study will be appreciated especially by undergraduate students and church groups. Catholic Biblical Quarterly
By privileging a Mediterranean social script and its cultural codes as the most appropriate way to clarify Phoebe s role in the first century Jesus groups, Campbell reminds the reader of the cultural distance separating the first century and the twenty-first century believer.J. Dorcas Gordon, Knox College, Toronto "
Masterfully executing traditional and social scientific exegetical analysis of just two biblical verses (Rom 16:1-2), Campbell draws a fresh picture of Phoebe as she has never been understood before except perhaps by her contemporaries. Situating Phoebe solidly within her Middle Eastern cultural context clarifies and enhances this plausibly authentic image of a very important woman among the earliest Jesus-Groups. Campbell s lucid presentation of complex interdisciplinary research and her engaging writing style recommend this book to a wide audience.John J. Pilch, Georgetown University, Washington, DC "
Using the lens of a woman who is mentioned only once in the New Testament, Joan Campbell s Phoebe introduces the reader to key aspects of ancient Mediterranean history, geography, and culture, and provides a marvellously clear exposition of such diverse topics as ancient naming conventions, letter delivery, the culture of Corinth and its port, Kenchreai, the use of fictive family language in early Christianity, and the culture of patronage and clientism. A lucid introduction to the culture in which the Jesus movement was born and flourished.John S. Kloppenborg, Professor and Chair, Department and Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto "
Joan Campbell takes her readers on a fascinating tour of Phoebe s socio-historical world, squeezing rich insights out of a meager biblical account in Romans 16:1-2. In an elegantly written and engaging style, Campbell introduces Phoebe through the geographical setting of the port city of Kenchreai, through the ancient social system of patronage/clientage, through the political role of emissary, and through the familial role of sister. Phoebe, who has been relegated over the centuries to an obscure and insignificant role within the Pauline communities by means of inaccurate and androcentric translations of Rom 16:1-2, is reinstated in this work as Paul s powerful and invaluable partner in the spread of the Gospel to the gentiles.Lee A. Johnson, Methodist Theological School in Ohio "
Top Customer Reviews
Through the introduction and the four chapters that follow, the reader is introduced to Phoebe, her world and her place in it. One of the critical pieces of information provided is the background of the society and times in which Phoebe and Paul lived that have bearing upon Paul's commendation of her as noted above. This explanation is also accompanied by the defining of the terms sister, diakonos (deacon), patron and emissary.
'While it is tempting for us to fill in the gaps by recourse to our own social system, we must resist the temptation, realizing that we are foreigners in the land of the Bible.' (93) This is a very real and persistent temptation to reach what the reader could consider to be a quick and reasonable explanation when, in fact, it would only serve as a 'red herring'. The author in a clear and straightforward way lays out the information of the collectivistic society of the day, the important of family and relationship and the roles that honour and shame also played in the life of that society.Read more ›
Campbell's work, written in a clear and concise style, introduces the reader to Phoebe, through the first century Mediterranean life in which she lived. For the reader, there is no denying that Phoebe was a "real" woman whom Paul viewed as a central player in his plans to spread the gospel .In calling her a benefactor, "prostatis, of many community members and of Paul himself, Paul implies that he has been dependent upon her sphere of influence to expand his mission in Kenchreai. Perhaps she offered her house for meetings or acted as a host to travelling nascent Christians, or she may have introduced Paul to others who became community benefactors. The titles that Paul used to describe Phoebe offer evidence that Phoebe, is important as Paul's missionary partner -"our sister" (adelphe')- a term that Campbell's research indicates could just as accurately be used to refer to the female membership of a missionary partnership similar to that of Timothy.Read more ›