Sociological Family Unit
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Immediate Nuclear Family
Page 83

Graeco-Roman Society and Thought

Emperor AugustusThe sociological family unit is basic in Graeco-Roman society and thought. Part of the strains at the end of the Roman Republic were 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.

Connected to a Family Unit

Family UnitThe sociological 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 unit.

Old Testament House

FamilyIn the Old Testament, the term "house" is 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.✞

All Under the Head's Authority

JoshuaThus, when Joshua promises that "I and my house will serve the Lord," he means his family and other people living with his family under his authority will serve the Lord. Similarly in Genesis, as Acts 7.10 recounts, when Joseph was made governor over Egypt and over Pharaoh's household, it means he had stewardship both of the nation and of Pharaoh's family and attendants.

"Sociological Family Unit"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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