Monday, January 09, 2006

More from Yoder

Yoder, in the chapter "Revolutionary Subordination" makes an interesting observation. He compares Christian social ethic with Stoic, and makes this observation (italics his):

"Here begins the revolutionary innovation in the early Christian style of ethical thinking for which there is no explanation in borrowing from other contemporary cultural sources. The subordinate person in the social order is addressed as a moral agent. She is called upon to take responsibility for the acceptance of her position in society as meaningful before God. It is not assumed, as it was in both Jewish and Hellenistic thought, that the wife will have the faith of her husband, or that the slave will be part of the religious unity of the master's househould. Here we have a faith that assigns personal moral responsibility to those who had no legal or moral status in their culture, and makes of them decision makers. It give them responsibility for viewing their status in society not as a simple meaningless decree of fate but as their own meaningful witnesss and ministry, as an issue about which they can make a moral choice."

He goes on to talk about about "subjection, which carries a connotation of being thrown down and run over," "submission, with is connotation of passivity" and his preferred translation "Subordination," which he defines as "a willing acceptance, meaningfully motivated." He fills it out for a few pages.

<idle musing>
I like his definitions. Perhaps more time should be spent in some circles on mutual subordination and less time on "submission."
</idle musing>

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