From Petitionary Rhetoric to Apocalyptic Vindication: Comparing the Widow Artemis from Theadelphia (P. Sakaon 36) with Jesus’ Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1–8
September 30, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM On Demand Save the Date
In AD 280 a widow called Artemis from Theadelphia, a village situated in the oasis of Fayum, launched three petitions for justice before the Roman prefect of Egypt for justice on behalf of her underage children (P. Sakaon 31, 36, 37). The rhetoric employed in P. Sakaon 36 especially, where Artemis complains about a local notable invading her home and stealing her property, is a masterpiece in rhetorical strategy and in the arousal of the emotion of pity before the prefect with a view to carrying the day legally. Artemis depicts herself as “weak” and “helpless”, defenceless, powerless and desperate, begging the judicial system to take cognizance of her vulnerabilities. Due to the absolute sparsity of occurrence of the word “widow” in the ancient inscriptions and papyri, mostly appearing in late antiquity, this extended insight into the petitionary habits of widows in the Sakaon papyri may throw light upon Jesus’ own rhetoric in Luke 18:1–8, albeit in a first-century Judean context as opposed to late Roman Empire Egypt.
Due to the absolute sparsity of occurrence of the word “widow” in the ancient inscriptions and papyri, mostly appearing in late antiquity, this extended insight into the petitionary habits of widows in the Sakaon papyri may throw light upon Jesus’ own rhetoric in Luke 18:1–8…
What similarities and contrasts in rhetorical approach do we notice in the case of Artemis and Jesus? Who are the really important characters in each rhetorical scenario? How does the Lukan redaction rhetorically relate to the original parable of the historical Jesus? In each case, what do the different rhetorical strategies demonstrate about the first-century AD Lukan community and the late antique community of Thaedelphia in Egypt?
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