The Colossian and Ephesian Haustafeln in theological context : a study of their origins, relationship and message
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the theological and ethical motivation which informs the New Testament household codes ( Haustafeln) found in the epistles to the Colossians (3:18-4:22) and Ephesians (5:22-6:9). Although the household codes have received considerable attention within New Testament scholarship in the last century, the research has been primarily concerned with answering tradition-historical and form-critical questions regarding the provenance, Sitz in Leben and literary development of this parenetic form. The assumption that the New Testament household codes represent an imported, traditional element of instruction (whether Christian or pagan) has resulted in the neglect of any treatment which attempts to understand them in terms of the theological concerns of the letter's author. Without disregarding the important findings of the last century, an attempt to locate the theological aspects of the household codes would redress this imbalance. Our discussion will include the following elements. Chapter one represents a survey of Haustafel scholarship. Chapter two opens our investigation of the Haustafel as a parenetic unit within the letter to the Colossians, with particular attention devoted to the expanded instruction to the slave and master. Chapter three investigates the literary relationship between Colossians and Ephesians. Chapter four undertakes an analysis of the main theological features of the Eph. letter, with particular attention given to elements which represent development vis-a-vis the Col. Vorlage. Chapter five consists of a comparison between the household code as found in Col. and Eph., and six ancient authors' treatment of household relations.