Original Research

Women, honor, and context in Mediterranean antiquity

Carolyn Osiek
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 64, No 1 | a25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v64i1.25 | © 2008 Carolyn Osiek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 2008 | Published: 14 January 2008

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Carolyn Osiek, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Much has been written about how the social structures of honor and shame affected women in Mediterranean antiquity. Sometimes "honor and shame" are taken out of context and used as absolute opposites, an oversimplification. Rather, honor and shame function as coordinates within a complex matrix of other societal factors. Chief among them are kinship, social hierarchy, economic control and effective social networking. Some contemporary studies from southern Europe help illuminate this pattern. The complexity and variation present in the social dynamics of these contemporary cultures indicate that the same kind of complexity and variation must have been present in ancient cultures too.

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