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Women in the Greetings of Rom 16:1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women's Ministry in the Letter to the Romans

MATHEW, SUSAN (2010) Women in the Greetings of Rom 16:1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women's Ministry in the Letter to the Romans. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this study is to investigate the leadership roles of women within the model of mutuality in Pauline churches as specified in Romans 16:1-16. The three major issues focussed in this study are the leadership roles of women in the Pauline churches (Romans 16:1-16), the nature of mutuality reflected in the greetings to men and women, and the way in which the greetings to men and women in Rom 16 relate to the ethos of mutualism in Rom 12-15.
Starting from the premise that Romans 16 is an integral part of the letter, the study begins with an overview of previous research in the areas of major focus (Chapter 1). It is followed by the analysis of the form of greetings in the Pauline letters against the backdrop of the Hellenistic use of greetings to understand the significance of the specific form of the greetings in Rom 16:1-16 and its purpose of encouraging mutual relationship (Chapter 2). The analysis of the leadership of women in the Greco-Roman world shows that women’s leadership roles in the Pauline churches were not countercultural; rather they were part of the culture of the Greco-Roman world, where some women of wealth or higher social status exerted some independence (Chapter 3). The women named (Rom 16:1-16) and greeted with descriptive phrases perhaps draw our attention to Paul’s acknowledgment of some women, who worked as his associates, and point to relationships of mutuality in the greetings (Chapter 4). The study of Romans 12-13 helps to clarify the model of mutuality in the body metaphor and the repeated term ‘a0llh/louv’, signifying that Christian experience is not only an individual experience but also has social and ethical aspects (Chapter 5). The contextual application of mutuality in the community as mutual welcoming and mutual up-building (Rom 14-15) is the focus of Chapter 6. The final attempt is to draw together the peculiarities of the Pauline ethos of mutuality which encourages the leadership roles of women in the greetings (Chapter 7).
Mutuality of relationships in Romans transcends gender discrimination as Paul accepts and appreciates men and women for their toil with regard to the church and to himself. The women named and greeted with specific roles (Rom 16) are Phoebe, Prisca, Junia, Persis, Mary, Tryphaena and Tryphosa, Rufus’ mother, Nereus’ sister and Julia. The leadership of women in the church is placed within the structures of mutuality in Romans. Mutuality is the model of relationship Paul wants to urge on Roman Christians and the ethical obligations are guided by the dynamic relationships of ‘love mutualism’, which are evident in Romans 12-15. Love mutualism works as mutual service to the other that works within the hierarchies and is dynamic.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Women's Ministry.Mutuality, Love,Greetings, Romans 16, Body Metaphor, Receiving One Another
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Aug 2010 10:02

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