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Title page for ETD etd-12132005-140004

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Stubbs, Monya Aletha
Author's Email Address monya333@aol.com
URN etd-12132005-140004
Title Romans 13 and the market economy subjection, reflection, resistance: a three-dimensional process of empowerment
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Daniel Patte Committee Chair
  • Romans 13
  • Romans 13
Date of Defense 2005-11-11
Availability unrestricted





Dissertation under the direction of Professor Daniel Patte

Critical biblical studies requires that interpreters make clear not only the analytical frame used to ground a reading in textual evidence (exegetical method), but also two other frames which critical interpretations usually fail to elucidate: the hermeneutical frame and the contextual frame. Considering these issues, this project visits Romans 13:1-7, a text often employed to advance the social superiority of one group of people over and another and argues that Romans 13:1-7, if read in light of its surrounding verses (12:1-13:14), reads less like a prescriptive demand and more like a call for Roman Christians to acknowledge their social reality in relation to the Roman state that is part of the existence of life in the Christian community. Romans 13:1-7 (in 12:1-13:14) is not necessarily destructive to people overwhelmed by “governing authorities.” This broader text shifts the emphasis from subjection as a single hermeneutical frame and expands the frame to include subjection-reflection-resistance. Subjection serves as one step of a three-dimensional process which moves between the categories of subjection-reflection- resistance, and empowers those who feel powerless in their relationship to governing authorities.

Moreover, this dissertation relates Romans 13:1-7 (in 12:1-13:14) to life by using as a contextual bridge the category of the market economy and accompanying issues of poverty and human development. Hence, a second and interrelated thesis of this project argues that Paul’s understanding of indebtedness helps Christian believers better assess issues of poverty and human development. Paul’s concept of indebtedness gives contemporary believers access to the historical realities that often shape current realities of economic injustice. Paul’s concept of indebtedness calls us to examine the historical and systematic factors that often generate conditions of poverty and economic injustice and therefore forces each of us to acknowledge our indebtedness to those who are subjected by these indignities. Ultimately, these categories of market economy and indebtedness help me recognize as particularly significant the way in which the text integrates economic, political and social power structures and their implications for human relationships.


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