Sociological Family Unit
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Sociological Family
Page 83

Immediate Nuclear Family

Emperor AugustusThe sociological family unit is basic in Graeco-Roman society and thought. Part of the strain at the end of the Roman Republic was due to the clashes of rival families. Part of the success of the Caesars as presented in the "Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development" (editors Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids) was the concept of the supremacy of Augustus' family unit, the household of the Emperor which was dispersed to various parts of the world.

Graeco-Roman Society

Family UnitThe sociological family unit in the Hellenistic world, as in the Old Testament, was not the individual, the city or the state but the family or household unit. Early Christianity, including the New Testament itself, to a large degree addressed people not as separate individual entities but as connected to a family.

Old Testament House

FamilyIn the Old Testament, the term "house" was frequently used figuratively as a reference to one's family unit. A family unit according to the "Dictionary of New Testament Background" (editors Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter) included not only an immediate nuclear family but usually a somewhat extended family and those who were dependent on and connected to that family in some way, all under the authority of the householder.✞

Head's Authority

JoshuaThus, when Joshua promised that "I and my house will serve the Lord," he meant his family and other people living with his family under his authority would serve the Lord. Similarly in Genesis, as Acts 7.10 recounts, when Joseph was made governor over Egypt and over Pharaoh's household, it meant that he had stewardship both of the nation and of the Pharaoh's family and attendants. "He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace."

"Sociological Family"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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