Original Research - Special Collection: Festschrift for Prof Stephan Joubert

A social identity complexity theory reading of Philemon

Jacobus Kok, Ilse Swart
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6621 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6621 | © 2021 Jacobus Kok, Ilse Swart | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 March 2021 | Published: 30 July 2021

About the author(s)

Jacobus Kok, Department of New Testament, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Ilse Swart, Department of New Testament, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This article provides new perspectives on navigating complex social identity in the letter to Philemon by means of the heuristic use of social identity complexity theory (SICT) in combination with socio-rhetorical analysis (SRA). The application of SICT as a heuristic tool in New Testament (NT) studies is relatively new, but it is positioned within the novel research being carried out on social identity theory in the NT.

Contribution: This article wants to make a new contribution by illustrating how SICT can help us to think in more nuanced ways about nested identity(s) in Philemon.


Keywords

social identity complexity theory; social identity theory; Philemon; Paul; Onesimus; slave; slavery; identity

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