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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Power of Children: The Construction of Christian Families in the Greco-Roman World
MacDonald, Margaret Y.

Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014 pp. vii + 239. $49.95


Description: The Power of Children examines Christian teaching about children in the context of family life in the Roman world. Specifically, author Margaret Y. MacDonald measures the impact of the New Testament’s household codes (Colossians 3:18–4:1; Ephesians 5:21–6:9; the Pastoral letters) for understanding the status and role of children in Christian homes and assemblies. By allowing children to frame her analysis, MacDonald demonstrates that the rigid social divisions of the period (wives–husbands, children–parents, slaves–masters) were far more complex and overlapping within the Christian context—highlighting the way in which Christian families challenged the prevailing imperial ideology. From curbing sexual abuse to the practice of pseudo-parenting and the teaching roles of both men and women in the family, MacDonald documents the development of an early Christian perspective that valued children as members in the household of God.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Deutero-Pauline Epistles, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, New Testament Theology

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Review by Julie Faith Parker
Published 2/8/2016
Citation: Julie Faith Parker, review of Margaret Y. Macdonald, The Power of Children: The Construction of Christian Families in the Greco-Roman World, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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